Going Gaga for Hedi Slimane

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The singer looked ethereal on the red carpet in Venice. (AFP)
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Lady Gaga showed off a bag from the new line. (Instagram)
Updated 05 September 2018
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Going Gaga for Hedi Slimane

French photographer, fashion designer and agent provocateur Hedi Slimane, who is of Tunisian heritage, has never been known to shock in halves.
The maverick genius took two contrasting slants when he replaced Phoebe Philo at Celine, the French ready-to-wear and leather luxury goods brand.
The first was a subtle, yet impactful, hint of things to come when Slimane used artist Lady Gaga to debut a sleek, yet versatile, handbag at the Venice film festival late last week. Slimane and Gaga are relevant for being artistic and bizarre.
Just when the critics were dissecting the craftsmanship and versatility of the purse he went nuclear by wiping out Celine’s entire Instagram account and ditching the brands famous accent.
The world was waiting for a shakeup of Slimanesque proportions and he did not disappoint. Opinion as usual, was strong, but divided.
Known to be a disruptor of ideas and traditions Slimane is known to send observers, loyalists and critics in the fashion world into a tailspin with his unorthodox applications. His documented stints with Dior Homme and Saint Laurent, where he knocked off the “Yves,” to earn the rage of thousands, are cases in point. His talent is unquestioned, but the approach to his craft is always the subject of deliberation.
Slimane’s posts on Instagram to highlight the new Celine application was a video of sparkling gold lamé fabric accompanied by dramatic music. He rationalized the brand’s facelift saying, “The new logo has been directly inspired by the original, historical version that existed in the 1960’s. The accent on the ‘E’ has been removed to enable a simplified and more balanced proportion, evoking the Celine collections of the 1960’s where the accent wasn’t used often.”
The reaction from the fraternity has been consistent — a mixture of outrage, bewilderment and admiration.
Slimane will debut the Celine menswear and womenswear collections in Paris this month. But the sneak peek provided by Lady Gaga, herself no stranger to controversy with her ability to shock and awe, has got critics launching a thousand theories.  
Err… about the bag: The oversized black tote features gold hardware and a subtle monogrammed tag— simple lines from a brand and a designer who are more avant-garde than conventional.


Trash to treasure, Mariska Nell shows off at Dubai Design Week

The artist uses used Nespresso pods in her art.
Updated 15 November 2018
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Trash to treasure, Mariska Nell shows off at Dubai Design Week

  • Mariska didn’t focus only on creating art, but on educating people as well, on the sustainability aspect of turning trash to treasure

DUBAI: An interior designer from South Africa, Mariska Nell, has introduced her own style of art at this year’s Dubai Design Week, which will run from Nov. 13 to 17 in the Design District.
As an artist and environmentalist, she shared with Arab News her passion for creating art out of waste.
“It started at a really young age, when I spent time at my mother’s studio making arts and crafts from anything that I found around me,” she said.
The inspiration that kick-started Mariska’s trash-to-treasure career in Dubai were the Nespresso coffee capsules that she found too beautiful to throw away.
“Once you find something to create out of waste material and single-use items, you are giving things a second chance at life,” she said.
The artist then started collecting all the capsules she could get her hands on.
“I needed to purchase a lamp for my living room and the idea to create a lamp out of these pods came to life,” she said, introducing her first official art piece that was made out of 913 capsules.
This lamp will be part of her “Coffee Addiction” collection which is included in her exhibit “A Million Bottles Per Minute” at the design festival.
“Why would I want to paint a whole canvas if I can go for a different medium? This led me to experiment and incorporate trash with other forms of art, creating a whole new medium,” she said, talking about the ideas behind the pieces to be showcased at the exhibit.
As a South African living in Dubai, Mariska shared her opinion of art in the Arab world. “I’m excited about it ... There are so many unique elements like the history and calligraphy that makes art in the Arab world really stand out.”
Mariska didn’t focus only on creating art, but on educating people as well, on the sustainability aspect of turning trash to treasure.
“Just pick something that is easy to give up, whether it’s a water bottle that you would replace with a water filtering system in your house, and go from there,” she said, explaining how she started a zero-waste initiative in her home.
“I know that what I’m doing is a drop in the ocean, but hopefully with more people being educated about this concept, we can create a ripple of change.”

The artist's works for Dubai Design Week will also be showcased at the Rove Downtown's Sustainability Corner from November 13 to 16.