Monday, April 29, 2013

Eckhaus Latta and Heather Guertin’s MODEL TURNED COMEDIAN

Eckhaus Latta

Want to know what you should be wearing right now?  You should be wearing anything, everything from the design duo Eckhaus Latta.  Mike Eckhaus and Zoe Latta are fresh young things that graduated from RISD and are making interesting clothing/ interesting shapes and textures that can be worn as clothing, out of their Brooklyn studio.  I was introduced to their work when I helped a friend out with a project and there were people bedecked in these uniforms of cotton waffle layering.  I kept asking who made them and where I could get them and were there any extra lying about that I could take with me, sadly there wasn’t.  Later that day I emailed the studio directly as the pieces from their line via their website seemed hard to locate and was responded to with enthusiasm and I now eagerly anticipate my studio visit with them.

What makes Eckhaus Latta not your run of the mill new design trend?  It’s a mix of experimentation with function that is elegant yet not trying too hard.  You can view their Autumn/Winter 2013, Spring/Summer 2013 and Autumn/Winter 2012 on their site.  Each collection is varied although a clear aesthetic vision can be traced throughout.  This is a feat and reassurance to see, evolution versus mere one-upmanship.  I especially love their A/W 2013 line.  It’s like a wearable future being proposed.  There is a mix of minimalism, futurism, Asia, Bauhaus all combined in subtle and form creating ways.  This is perhaps the thing that makes Eckhaus Latta so interesting to me.  Their clothes are not merely about projection of a lifestyle (although it certainly does), it’s more about how the body is the walking summation of parts and that fabric, cuts, folds and color can accentuate and liberate one’s body, movement and presence within space. 

Fashion and art is a funny thing.  One that I have remarked on in mostly tones of dismissal.  Maybe I spoke too fast though, or maybe Eckhaus Latta’s clothing has visually excited me more then most art I have been seeing of late.  All I know is that the pile of art money that I have squirreled away is definitely justified in the purchase of a few of their pieces and when I wear then around town I will feel like a moving sculpture that has potential to change the mood within and around me just by standing there. 

Heather Guertin, MODEL TURNED COMEDIAN, 2013 (Publication Studio/ Social Malpractice Studio)

This is a sliver of a book that can be read faster then a load of laundry but damn was it fun to read.  This shy novella of under 70 pages is a quick telling of an unnamed women, told in first person, and how she was a model who pretended to buy clothes in LA to increase store sales, how she became a comedian, the end of her ten year marriage, her love affairs with The Swiss and Kas and how she almost karate kicked David Letterman in the face on air. 

Guertin is an artist and comedian based in New York.  I don’t know too much about her paintings but the bio section on the back of the book says that she uses comedy and her other forms of art making in incorporative and referenced ways.  After reading this, it makes me want to see as many formations of her practice as possible.  The book is very much a women’s tale.  It has this crisp reflexivity and the sentence structure and tone make reading it a breeze and also had me laughing out loud, literally at the laundromat at some parts.  The honesty of the character’s thoughts, insecurities and indifference is refreshing and hit a nerve with my own brain/thought patterns.  Things that would seem important or somehow altering are brushed off in a few sentences, such as:

That same day I made a pact with myself that I would be a standup comedian.

I realized that I could do anything. Running on adrenaline I bought two tickets to New York City.

I only needed one ticket, so I had to do some negotiating with the airline to get my full refund for the second ticket. I succeeded but ended up paying a fee of $175.

After that was settled, I arrived in N.Y.C.

New York was cold and dirty so I flew back.

This made me wish I hadn’t refunded my second ticket but rather just kept it and changed it to a flight back to L.A.

Then it would have only cost me $50 to change flights plus the difference in the ticket price, which I can’t imagine would be much.

Anyway, L.A. was the place for me. 

So yeah, that is a sample of Guertin’s writing style, which is like reading an episode of Seinfeld but has more sensitivity and an overall search for love and connection vibe.  What was very exciting to read in Guertin’s story though was how art and the desire to make some form of art, in this case comedy, is an intense and real drive.  The character being a woman is wow to see because there are so few instances of this and it is done in a transferable way but does not disavow the fact that she is a woman experiencing things.  The need to express and actualize oneself is not the domain of men only and it was a relief to see it being articulated with such ease and humor in this book. 

The line that got me good was this:

How can I be so manipulative, not only to other people but also to myself?  Am I tricking myself into fulfilling my own goals? Is success against my nature? Would I rather transgress against my own personal development?

I need to understand that it is not artificial to allow yourself to be successful.  It is just learning to have self-control and self-control in an important part of developing a strong identity. 

Ok so like yeah, girl just read my mind! But really this book is a nugget of inspiration and I use that word in the most cliché way but really damn it, I mean it.  Read it; make an hour of your day fun and funny.  Everyone is the same but different and that’s okay.