Editor’s Note: It’s Friday, so we’re going to have some end of week fun. We’ve asked our fashion pundit to weight on our top lists this month. This is what he came up with.
Since we’ve been running down the most powerless and most f***able art world figures, now we’re seeing which ones are in dire need a makeover. Anyone in the public sphere knows the way they dress reflects greatly on their work, and art people, fortunately or not, are no exception.
Generally, I hate the idea of “makeovers” since I have a very “You want to wear hot pink harem pants? Wear hot pink harem pants! Society be damned!” approach to fashion, but this generally arose after being subjected to the sight of all the people constantly and thinking “Can’t you just look better? For our sake?” Take it all in good fun.
10. Beatrix Ruf
Black is a color among colors (or shade among shades, if you want to get technical). We love it, you love, Sicilian Mourners love it. But it gets old with overuse, and even though she’s cultivated an image, the Director and Curator of the Kunsthalle Zürich relies too much on black, making the efficacy of her look suffer. The cropped hair works, but in tandem with the same shirt all the time doesn’t make her have the same presence as if she just changed up the wardrobe a little bit. Continuing the monochromatic scheme would be fine if she experimented with silhouette more.
9. Anne Pasternak
Look at the President and Artistic Director of Creative Time here; fun! Fresh! Chic! Good accessorizing! What happened? Why now the limp hair and drab clothes? One tip for everyone: pretend you’re at a New York Times photo shoot every day and dress accordingly.
8. Chip Kidd
Even though our correspondent Jeffrey A. Songco said he’d f*** him, I wouldn’t consider it until Mr. Kidd cleaned up his act. The first act would be to ditch the Harry Potter glasses; ocular accessories can certainly be a defining feature for iconoclasts (look at Carrie Donovan, Dame Edna and, well, Harry Potter) but since the image is permanently seared forever and ever in our minds with the little British wizard, it might be best to find another character-defining pair of specs. We haven’t even gotten to his clothes yet, have we? Well, he cleans up nice enough, but more often he looks like a substitute Chemistry teacher. Why can’t he look as sharp and polished as his book cover designs?
7. Cory Arcangel
The package certainly reflects the content in this case. Graphic tees and jeans are pretty much what’s expected from the visual artist who manipulates video games in his work, with a few hipster-ironic 1980s sweaters rounding out the profile. If anything, he should just turn the volume up to 11 and become a HYPER-hipster. Introduce vintage thick-rimmed glasses (lenses optional), busier graphics on his tees, and maybe even a nice pink, red, yellow, blue and green plaid shirt.
6. Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev
The artistic director of Documenta has a tendency to pair black with warm, rich tones like red, orange and coral, which don’t play well off of her firey Bernadette Peters-esque hair. The red glasses don’t do much to mitigate clashing, either. It might behoove her to gracefully glide across to the color side of the spectrum, introducing deep blues and violets, which would make her hair pop.
5. Maureen Paley
Is it in poor taste to have Amy Winehouse hair after we found out the British singer drank herself to death? More to the point: is it a look you really want to rock after finding out the British singer drank herself to death? It might have screamed “gallerista” fifteen years ago, but now it’s a little stale. Maybe it’s a postmodern commentary on self-destruction? Or maybe it’s just time to do something different.
4. Jeff Koons
For such a master of bombastic, colorful works, Koons’s personal aesthetic doesn’t live up to his hype. Light blue oxford shirts, standard suits and dark blue rep ties seem to be his modus operandi. I’m not saying he has to go all out and wear the entire Versace for H&M collection, but it might be nice to connect better with his work by wearing a neon pink tie every once and a while.
3. Michael Kors
Ever since he became a more public figure with Project Runway, the purveyor of Classis American Sportswear has been asked a lot on his choice of uniform: black blazer, black t-shirt and blue jeans. While he’s defended it as an extremely versatile outfit (and who’s to argue, really?) it’s kind of a slap in the face for a fashion figure to be locked into one boring outfit. Seriously, menswear is a pretty immutable venue to begin with, so why not just have a little fun with the uniform? It reeks of hypocrisy to shove new clothes in our face every three months while never changing his look, so he might as well concede and change it up a little. Be bold, Michael. Wear a white t-shirt with a gray blazer.
2. Klaus Biesenbach
We’ve seen the inside of his closet (and his apartment) and it’s pretty grim. No, not because of the austerity or the lack of variation, but because of the horrible pairings. If he wants to rock that oh-so-clichéd German minimalist aesthetic, go for it. Just keep in mind some subtleties that can ruin the look of an outfit. Black button-down shirts, especially under light suits, always read mafia, not the Chief Curator at Large for MoMA. Besides, that pairing draws the eye in instead of out, making us reflexively focus on the black bar of fabric in the center of his body first. My advice? Don’t mismatch tones; go for either all light or all dark outfits. It may be shocking to think there can be clashing on the grayscale, but it happens.
1. Kalup Linzy
This may seem like a cop out, but let’s see this through. Yes, he mixes camp and kitsch and the tension he creates between gender attributes, reality and fantasy, and high and low culture is all part of his work. But let’s all agree his unholy alliance with James Franco has skirted this dialectic a bit too much onto the dilettante-grasping-for-fame side and realize he’s open for criticism. Where to start? The beard, for one. He’s not (nor ever will be) a drag queen in the strictest sense, but his refusal of tonsorial counsel only makes him look neglectful and instead of being an element of his performance (which we must assume it is) it serves more as a distraction. If need be, have a slight five o’clock shadow and wear wigs that bear a closer relation to your natural hair color. Next, the wardrobe. The vintage lingerie pieces mostly work, because they fit to his body and are enough of a costume to make his point. But the main word here is “attention.” I hate to keep bringing up drag to discuss him, but any drag queen worth her weight in salt knows how to hide her flaws and play up her strengths in order to create an illusion and, more importantly, not have the audience focus on some ill-fitting dress instead of the performance. Vaginal Davis basically did his exact shtick, but he did it with a little more finesse. Linzy, take note.