Illusory fashion photography
Melvin Sokolsky: Magical Realism NOWNESS
60s fashion photographer Melvin Sokolsky floated models down the Seine long before the age of digital, photographic enhancements. Now living in New York, Sokolsky is the subject of the Royal Monceau's new exhibition Rétrospective, which spans the artist’s five-decade career.
Curated by Michel Mallard and Hervé Mikaeloff, the show demonstrates Sokolsky's influence on modern photographers like Ryan McGinley or Craig McDean. Asked about his infamous 'bubble' photos, Skolosky explains that his eureka moment sprang from a painting by Hieronymus Bosch.
'The Garden of Earthly Delights'
Late 15th century Dutch painter Hieronymus Bosch produced several triptychs. Among his most famous is The Garden of Earthly Delights.
This painting depicts paradise with Adam and Eve and many wondrous animals on the left panel, the earthly delights with numerous nude figures and tremendous fruit and birds on the middle panel, and hell with depictions of fantastic punishments of the various types of sinners on the right panel.
When the exterior panels are closed the viewer can see, painted in grisaille, God creating the Earth.
Inside the triptych 'The Garden of Earthly Delights' , the bubble motif continues.
As an artist Melvin Sokolsky is inspired by his dream life and writing down his dreams upon waking up from sleep. Incredibly visual, the photographer's impression of 'The Garden of Earthly Delights' was embedded in his unconscious mind.
The bubble images erupted, timed with a Harper's Bazaar shoot of the 1963 Spring Collection in Paris. Not only was America a percolating racial activism pot in 1963, but feminism and the women's movement was gaining momentum.
Betty Friedan published 'The Femininie Mystique' in February 1963. In 1963 Sokolsky made another iconic image of Lena Horne for Show Magazine.
This image went along with the article called “Breaking the White Barrier.” In the image Lena is breaking through a white seamless background. She is dressed in a white evening gown and the paper is ripped in a curve that complements her figure.
Instinctively, it seems that Melvin Sokolsky is attuned to his feminine side and the unconscious concept of the divine feminine or goddess power.
It's easy to look through a contemporary lens, viewing the bubble girls as living hermetically-sealed luxury lives.
Given the times and political lens through which the self-trained Sokolsky created his images, and his original inspiration of 'The Garden of Earthly Delights', the 'bubble girls' can be viewed as modern angels, suddenly unfettered to influence a future, promised by the women's liberation movement.
Writing these words at a time of global economic trauma and severe challenges to women's rights in America from the theocratic, Republican right wing, the new appointment at Kenzo got our attention this week.
Like Melvin Sokolsky, we welcome intellect and meaning in imagery and brands. Bernard Arnault is tapped into the evolving consumer values landscape better than most.
We're reading the tea leaves intently at this moment. Totally chagrined by the state of women's rights in many countries including America, bitterly disappointed by a Erica Jong panel discussion of female sexuality this past week, it's difficult to see the vitality in our own Phoenix Rising trend, a 21st century, global synethesis of new, feminine values already alive and well in Europe and especially Scandinavia and perhaps Brazil.
The Kenzo announcement strikes a major chord, even if it is a comparatively small brand.
Kenzo In Rousseau Mode
Announcing the appointment of Opening Ceremony cool kids Humberto Leon and Carol Lim as creative directors at Kenzo, Pierre-Yves Roussel, chairman and chief executive officer of LVMH fashion house, said “They’re really embracing what was the origin of Kenzo — that Jungle spirit.”
'That Jungle Spirit' is another garden of earthly delights, this time Henri Rousseau's 'Garden of Eden'.
When a woman cheats, she's looking for more than satisfying another man Anna Holmes@The Washington Post
Taking what we want, especially with regard to our erotic lives, is considered taboo, a reflection of a society that has long been distrustful of empowered female sexuality. Even supposedly enlightened women’s media outlets push the message that male satisfaction should be our primary objective.