Tuesday, May 21, 2013

The magic of RIO - Pirelli Calendar 2013 - at MAMM Moscow

Photographer: Steve McCurry

The Rio depicted here suggests the history of Brazil, a country transformed - colonized, plundered and repopulated until it exploded with European and African intensities as well as all indigenous feathered shrieks. The photos show a homegrown culture of impulses and improvisations - syncretic, an anthropologist might say , a fusion of cultures, a people taking possession of different rituals or beliefs and making them their own. That too is magical. The music and dance and even the graffiti adds to the transformation; the human touch in the painted walls, the casual dress is the Cariocas' assertion of their own lives and their neighborhoods, turning their walls into murals and even their bodies into art objects, as body builders and dancers.

The capoeira - shown here as vigorous tumbling - is distinctly Brazilian and centuries old, combining movement and music that is both an aesthetic and a system of combat, like magic in action: a martial art, sometimes improvisational and artful. And the graffiti is not (as in some cities vandalism), but an enhancement, mural or maquillage on a wall, a street, in alcoves and markets, on the rooftops.

Here are images of abundance - plenty of everything, food, fruit, colour, music; an abundance of light, too, but sometimes wayward and revealing light. The young girl at the market stall, anxiously clutching her head, stands before an impressive pile of multicoloured peppers, She is alone, but so are many of other people in the city, especially  the solitary air of the woman talking away, along the Arcos de Lapa aqueduct, with a teasing suggestion of 'follow me'. She is a telling shadow; there is as much life in these shadows as in naked light.

Monday, May 20, 2013

TSUM's Cherry Garden Spring-Summer 2013 window displays

TSUM is one of those destinations that any fashion-driven, aware person would want to see once in Moscow. Last month I took a short, four-day trip to Moscow and took a day to simply go and explore what the city has to offer in terms of window displays, stores, brands, atmosphere and take in the Russian fashion scene. I realised that understanding it will take a while (Moscow is not the best shopping destination for luxury, high-end goods, due to highly exaggerated prices and taxes), even so it is a city that promotes a luxurious lifestyle and an irrational consumer behaviour when it comes to designer products and well established brands. These tend to be the metrics of evaluating one's social status.

Now, I discovered two beautiful things, whilst walking in the pedestrian, central area of Moscow : TSUM's cherry garden windows and my favourite place in the city: Kuznetsky Most 20 concept store (loved everything about it, the lounge, the store fixtures, the revolutionary windows, selection of brands and atmosphere). A separate post will be reserved for that little fashion paradise that is Kuznetsky Most 20, so in the meantime I will leave you with pictures of the surrealist TSUM windows.