Monthly Archives: March 2014

MESSAGES FROM THE TOP

Instead of holding meetings, the larger-than-life Vogue editrix Diana Vreeland communicated through memos, dictated from the privacy of her office (and sometimes her bathroom, where she had a phone installed). She sent them to editors, fashion designers, photographers, and anyone else involved in creating the magazine.

Her grandson, Alexander Vreeland, collected these missives, along with the images from Vogue that they helped engineer, in a coffee-table book, published by Rizzoli in 2013. On March 25, another of her grandsons, Nicholas Vreeland, and a great-grandson, Reed Vreeland, chatted about the book in the Katie Murphy Amphitheatre. The event was part of The Museum at FIT’s Fashion Culture programming.

diana-vreeland-memos

Her missives are at turns funny, visionary, and insane. In one, she stressed the importance of seeing the ankle bones of Gypsies in editorial images. In another, she imagined a Vogue shoot taking place on the moon.

The letters were typed on many layers of onionskin. “If you got a clear memo, you were on top,” Nicholas remembered. “If you got a smudgy memo, you were probably the equivalent of an intern.”

She was relentless in getting her point across, often sending two or three memos about the importance of, say, the color gray.

“It’s very important to read them aloud,” Nicholas said. “You really get a sense of the way she used words.”

FIT STUDENTS PHOTOGRAPH VANISHING AFRICAN TRIBES

Last January, FIT students Trupal Pandya, Photography ’14, and Alexander Papakonstadinou, Photography ’14, visited the Omo Valley in Ethiopia to document five tribes: the Bena, Mursi, Hamar, Arbore, and Ari. Just in time, too: the traditional ways of these peoples are losing ground to the lure of Western, materialist pleasures.

Copyright Trupal Pandya

Copyright Trupal Pandya

The students spent ten days traveling around the valley, living with the tribes and photographing madly. Some of the people they met were naked; others were adorned with beads; still others were painted with ash.

Copyright Alexander Papakonstadinos

Copyright Alexander Papakonstadinou

Of the traditions he watched, Pandya was most astonished by a bull-jumping rite of passage. “The boy has to jump over ten bulls to prove that he’s an adult, to get married,” he says. Now that’s a lot of bull!

Copyright Trupal Pandya

Copyright Trupal Pandya

About 40 of these pictures will be presented in the Marvin Feldman Center lobby from today, March 21, to April 4. And on March 25 at 6 pm, Pandya and Papakonstadinou will preside over a reception to share the stories behind the work.

Copyright Alexander Papakonstadinou

Copyright Alexander Papakonstadinou

Pandya is no stranger to stunning travel photography. The spring issue of Hue, coming out in April, will feature his riveting, brilliantly hued images from the Holi festival in India.

TATTOO ARTISTS IN MOTION, PART THREE: MAGIE SERPICA

Magie Serpica, Illustration ’07, is co-owner of Milk and Honey Tattoo on Castleton Avenue in Staten Island, NY. Here she explains how cover-ups are done.

When tattoos get old, they begin to fade and warp, or they no longer represent a person’s values. Serpica applies a new, bolder tattoo atop the old one, so that you’d have to look really closely to see evidence of earlier work.

This is part three of Hue’s video series on alumni tattoo artists. Don’t forget to watch parts one about Victor Modafferi of Bullseye Tattoo and part two about Johann Florendo of Mean Street Tattoo!