Sunday, February 7, 2016

CFDA Fashion Education Committee Membership:

I am honored to be invited to join the 2016 Council of Fashion Designers of America Fashion Education Committee Membership:
Derek Lam | Joe Medved | Katrin Zimmermann | Keanan Duffty | Michael Smaldone | Sandy Dalal | Sarah Broach | Shelley Fox | Steven Alan
The Fashion Education Committee is comprised of CFDA Members, Staff, and industry expert volunteers. The mission of the CFDA Fashion Education Committee is to provide an iterative, external canvas and sounding board. Through shared opinion and dialogue the intention is to shape, define and build value within the fashion education ecosystem.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Nigel Barker's Gentleman's Code - on SiriusXM Radio

A big 'Thank you' to my friend Nigel Barker who kindly had me as a guest on his new radio talk show 'Nigel Barker's Gentleman's Code' on SiriusXM Radio Andy, channel 102.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

David Bowie, Fashion Chameleon, Dies at 69 - WWD

Designer Keanan Duffty, who was also part of that culture growing up in the U.K., said: “David Bowie offered me the opportunity of a lifetime — a chance to collaborate on a men’s collection inspired by the Thin White Duke, Ziggy Stardust and The Man Who Fell To Earth. For that I am eternally grateful. He was a gentle man, a sexy provocateur, a gender-blender and a rebel. He was also very funny. At one point during our first meeting I forgot where I was in my monologue. ‘I’ve lost my thread,’ I said, at which Bowie pointed out that was ‘not so good for a fashion designer — losing your thread.’ Bowie’s influence on myself and my fellow Central Saint Martins fashion students was profound. He fused the worlds of music and fashion with effortless grace and forged a blueprint for total creative expression and abandon. He was a consummate artist to the end and we will never see his like again.”

David Bowie's stylish shape-shifting sizzle caught our eye while camouflaging the man behind the art.

Contact ReporterLos Angeles Times Staff Writer

David Bowie's half-century career will be defined, as it well should be, by his music output. But it can't be altogether untangled from his signature look — or rather looks, each one telegraphing the arrival of a totally different Bowie: Ziggy Stardust, Aladdin Sane (with the lighting bolt across his face), the Thin White Duke, the minimalist black-and-white version from his Berlin period.

From the vantage point of a cynical 21st century, it's easy to look at the over-the-top costumes, the face paint, the magenta teased-high mullet and the enthusiastic bending of gender as a premeditated, well-executed exercise in branding: shape-shifting sizzle to sell music. Especially when this aspect of Bowie is what influenced fashion runways, Hollywood red carpets and Berlin nightclubs for decades, provided a template for the chameleon-like careers of Madonna, Lady Gaga, Janelle Monae and Adam Lambert — and made Bowie the subject of a 2013 Victoria & Albert Museum exhibition in London that's touring the globe.

Keanan Duffty, a New York fashion designer who worked with Bowie on a 2007 clothing line for Target, thinks this view — that Bowie style was merely premeditated packaging — is off the mark.

"I don't think it was as much a calculation as it was the guy just got bored and wanted to create the next new thing," Duffty said. "He's like a true artist in that way."

The various permutations of self that Bowie brought to bear weren't calculated stagecraft but rather full-on performance art, an outward expression of the musician's inner self.

Despite Bowie's considerable influence on fashion, Duffty said, Bowie didn't seem to care for it all that much.

"When we first met, he was wearing a pair of suede shoes, ill-fitting jeans and a Tommy Hilfiger T-shirt and said something to the effect of: 'I'm not particularly interested in fashion,' and I was actually quite enlightened by that," Duffty said. "I think he took the bits that worked for something he was creating and used them as part of the palette. ... I think he saw [the clothes] as this great vehicle for what he was doing, so he jumped into it — but he wasn't afraid to jump out of [one kind of garb] into another ... and not really worry about whether he was in or out of fashion."

Victoria Broackes, co-curator of "David Bowie Is," which debuted at the V&A Museum three years ago (and is at the Netherlands' Groninger Museum), was unavailable for comment Monday but echoed Duffty's sentiments in a 2013 Los Angeles Times interview.

"He says himself he's not that interested in fashion," Broackes said, "yet the exhibition is going to have 60 costumes including pieces from [Alexander] McQueen and Kansai Yamamoto. It's a performance exhibition but it could just as easily have been a fashion exhibition."

She said Bowie's shape-shifting persona imbued him with a "shamanistic" quality.

"There's all this mythology. But do we know him? No," she said. "We know these things about him — I think I know a lot about him — but do I know him? No."

Whether the looks were the outer expression of the inner artist or merely stylistic smoke-screen — or perhaps some combination of the two — the result was that Bowie, born David Jones, controlled the world's perception of who he was.

An insider's look behind the making of David Bowie's secretive 'Blackstar' album

And that's really what the clothes and the costumes were really about: defining and redefining the artist, keeping the pop culture tractor beam from locking in on one iteration that might force him to be someone or to do something that he didn't want. Duffty alludes to that aspect of Bowie's personality in describing the launch of the Bowie by Keanan Duffty apparel line.

"Target wanted me to ask him to perform two songs to support the launch," he recalled. "When I did, he looked at me and said: 'I'm not … Posh Spice!' That's the way he was. He didn't play by anybody else's rules, he didn't do anything he didn't want to do, and he did what he did with 100% participation, and when he was done, he dropped it."

Whatever the genesis, and whether he was a fashionista at heart or not, the cycle of looks turned out to be beneficial to the Bowie brand.

"People got this message that they could be whatever they wanted to be and that Bowie was a sort of conduit to that freedom — that's what he represented," Broackes said.

The fearless experimentation meant a lot of different looks that Bowie could latch on to. That in turn made him a staple on fashion mood boards around the world. In the Internet era of his career, Bowie matched fashion fearlessness with the element of surprise. His 2013 album, "A New Day," the first new album in a decade, seemed to come out of nowhere and take everyone off guard. His most recent, "Blackstar," recorded during the 18 months he was battling cancer, includes "Lazarus," a tune that serves as a final bow, on his terms.

At the end of the video for "Lazarus," posted online just three days before the musician's death, Bowie appears in a black outfit with wide diagonal stripes of white, a visual callback to his bold '70s-era looks.

The video ends with Bowie backing slowly into a freestanding wooden wardrobe and pulling the doors shut after him.

It should come as no surprise that David Bowie, in full control, exits through the clothes closet, the way he was introduced to so many of us so many decades ago.

Bowie’s fashion sense empowered individuality

Tony Bravo is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. E-mail:

When the news of David Bowie’s death was confirmed Sunday night, it wasn’t just one picture that flashed through my mind: It was a series of images of the artist in the many personae that spanned his years in the public eye.

There he was, lounging in a dress, transgressing against gender norms on the cover of “The Man Who Sold the World,” then as flame-haired alien Ziggy Stardust in his glittery spaceman jumpsuits, only to morph into Aladdin Sane with the signature lightning bolt painted across his face.

Even the more traditional sartorial looks of his Thin White Duke character during his Berlin years and for his role in the film “The Man Who Fell to Earth” were startling: The mix of classic suiting with his delicate androgyny continues to inspire designers from Jean Paul Gaultier to Hedi Slimane.

These are only a few of the ways in which Bowie endures as an icon of style and fashion. There are so many other fashion stops Bowie took in between, including side trips to boy-next-door sportswear circa “Young Americans” in the mid-1970s, the New Wave-influenced designs of the 1980s, and even an elegant Pierrot in his “Ashes to Ashes” music video.

When it came to fashion, there was nothing he wouldn’t borrow to create his melange, from high-concept contemporary art to low street style. That rich rock ’n’ roll voice remained immediately recognizable over the decades of his career, but the look was ever-changing, a reflection of what he expressed in his experiments with sounds on his albums and for characters on stage and screen.

“It was a persona, a series of personae, but done in a very authentic way,” said fashion designer Keanan Duffty, who collaborated with Bowie in 2007 on a collection for Target. “He was almost a mirror for the culture.”

His fashion evolution set the stage for those who followed him in pop culture, from Grace Jones and Madonna to Lady Gaga, but his dedication to pushing boundaries in his stage and personal style also influenced everyday fans. Since the 1970s, Bowie’s music has been the soundtrack for the creatively minded outsider, and his different looks allowed those same people to embrace their own “other” aesthetics.

“My whole relationship with Bowie started when I was 13, and I bought a copy of ‘Aladdin Sane’ when I didn’t have a record player,” Academy Award-winning actress Tilda Swinton (whose resemblance to Bowie has been frequently commented on) told Marlow Stern for the Daily Beast in 2014.

“He just looked like me, and looked like someone (who came) from the same planet as I did, and that was a great comfort to me at the time when I was 13 and 14 looking like that, that someone not only looked like that, but felt proud enough to stick themselves on the front of an album with a zigzag across their face and a dewy collarbone.”

My childhood in San Francisco in the 1990s was colored by my discoveries of the various Bowie eras. Like many in my generation, my first memories of Bowie are from his role as Jareth the Goblin King in Jim Henson’s 1986 fantasy film “Labyrinth.” How I wished that he’d spirit me away to the masquerade ball in his castle beyond the title maze, where he’d dress me in skintight spandex and swooping cloaks and line my eyes pearly white like his character.

There were tinglings of other yearnings in those early viewings too, and as I later delved deeper into his music, I understood that the bisexual Bowie wasn’t just family by nature of his fashion experimentation, he was quite simply “family” (as the LGBT community calls members and allies). Duffty points out that Bowie’s understanding of sub- and counterculture styles fueled his ability to freely borrow and adapt elements for his own looks. Bowie’s many personae became subcultures unto themselves that fans re-created and borrowed from for Bowie Balls, held annually in New York and Los Angeles.

The first time I applied glitter across my eyelids as a teen, it was while listening to Bowie’s “Velvet Goldmine.” When I dyed my hair a shocking orange and flipped the collar up on my leather jacket, I was emulating the cover of his album “Low.” When “Heathen” debuted in 2002, I began to notice the subtle distortions of his suiting that he wore in the liner-note photos that introduced me to the same types of fashion created by the Antwerp Six. Bowie was a gateway for me into high fashion by proving it could be a vehicle for not only great chic, but nonconformity.

There are some looks that will possibly always belong to Bowie. The silver striped jumpsuit with ballooned legs will always be Ziggy’s, no matter how many designers reinterpret it, and his spiked longer-in-the-back-shorter-on-top-hairdo remains the only acceptable version of the mullet.

The 2013 Victoria and Albert Museum exhibition “David Bowie Is” displayed many of these looks, and his influence can especially be seen today in the fashion industry with the move toward non binary design (clothes that don’t conform to traditional gender stereotypes) at labels like Hood by Air and Louis Vuitton, and returns to glam
dandyism at Gucci and Saint Laurent.

For many, Bowie’s most significant contribution to fashion will remain the permission he gave through his own style expression to push the boundaries toward greater avant-garde authenticity.

“I wouldn’t have become a designer if I hadn’t had David Bowie’s music and performances as a guiding light as a kid,” Duffty says. “I think that will be true of a lot of people. You can try and emulate him but he always moved on. No one will ever be Bowie.”

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Goodbye to all that — AAU’s Duffty, 2015 trends and more .

Photo: Russell Yip, The Chronicle

Fashion designer and punk rock musician Keanan Duffty is seen on Monday, March 18, 2013.

By Tony Bravo and Carolyne Zinko

Keanan Duffty leaves AAU: Senior Director of Fashion Merchandising at the Academy of Art University School of Fashion Keanan Duffty announced his departure from the school after 3½ years. The U.K.-born Duffty is stepping down to move back to New York City, where he plans to devote more time to his own work as a fashion designer. “I will remember my time at the Academy of Art as one of the most important experiences of my professional career,” Duffty told Style. “I wish our students and alumni continued success in their journey to become the future stars of fashion.” Among Duffty’s proudest accomplishments at AAU was the opening of the school’s Shop657 on Sutter Street, where students not only worked the boutique but also sold alumni brands including Apartment 415, VoidTheBrand and SanFrancycle. Duffty launched his own eponymous label in 1999; created collections for Target in 2006 and 2007; and is known for a distinctly British design reference point, specifically drawing inspiration from the punk and glam rock music subcultures. Duffty is also a musician himself and can be heard covering Katy Perry and Lana del Rey on his most recent album “Total Dragon Pop.” See you at New York Fashion Week, Mr. Duffty — San Francisco will miss you!

Tuesday, December 22, 2015


“Such is the stuff, From where dreams are woven...”
STOP PRESS: Warm up date on April 24th at Norwich Arts Centre added to the three dates below:
Just one week shy of the 40th anniversary of David Bowie’s UK Station To Station shows in Wembley in May 1976, Earl Slick and Bernard Fowler will perform Bowie’s Station to Station on a three-date UK tour.
Along with the Station to Station album in full, there will be a set of other classic Bowie, Lennon and Rolling Stones songs from their careers with those artists.
Tickets for the shows go on general sale this coming Wednesday 23rd, though there will be a presale for O2 customers prior to that, possibly as early as tomorrow (Monday 21st).
Here are the dates and links for Wednesday’s general sale: 
Tuesday 26th April, O2 ABC Glasgow -
Thursday 28th April, O2 Academy Liverpool -
Friday 29th April, O2 Academy Islington, London -
Keep reading for more information including band line up and support acts for the dates.
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“Station to Station is more than just a classic David Bowie album. It’s one of the pivotal moments in 1970s rock, forged in a turmoil of spiritual anguish and commemorating the wayward quest which carried its creator from the American funk and soul of his previous incarnation to the European experimentalism of his next. That transition, as philosophical as it was geographical, crystallised into an album of dark power and muscular beauty, brought to life by one of the finest bands Bowie has ever assembled and led from the front by the monumental guitar of Earl Slick.” - Nicholas Pegg, author of ‘The Complete David Bowie’
Earl Slick and Bernard Fowler perform David Bowie’s Station to Station
Legendary guitarist Earl Slick (David Bowie / John Lennon) and singer Bernard Fowler (The Rolling Stones) to tour the UK in April 2016 performing David Bowie’s Station to Station album masterpiece in full and a set of other classic Bowie, Lennon and Rolling Stones songs from their careers with those artists.
Marking the 40th anniversary of the release of David Bowie’s seminal album Station to Station, this tour will showcase the remarkable talents of renowned and influential guitarist Earl Slick, whose guitar playing made such a profound impact on the Station to Station album.
Earl Slick said:
“After all of these years the pieces all fell into place for me to perform my all-time favourite David Bowie record, Station to Station, live and in its entirety! I am proud to announce that the Rolling Stones’ Bernard Fowler will be up front and centre on lead vocals. See you all in April.”
Bernard Fowler commented:
“It's a great honour to be bringing new life to one of the world's most iconic records, David Bowie's Station to Station with the legendary Earl Slick.”
The tour band:
• Earl Slick, guitar
• Bernard Fowler, vocals
• Terry Edwards (Musical Director), sax, keyboards, percussion (The Blockheads/Gallon Drunk/Madness)
• Chris Constantinou, bass (Adam Ant, The Mutants, SinĂ©ad O’Connor)
• Luis Correia, guitar (Dirt Diggers)
• Florence Sabeva, piano (Vita & The Vicious)
• Lisa Ronson, BVs and percussion (Lisa Ronson, The Secret History)
• Lee John, drums (Sayreal)
‘Earl Slick and Bernard Fowler perform David Bowie’s Station to Station’ is touring the UK in April 2016 at the following venues:
26 April – O2 ABC Glasgow
28 April – O2 Academy Liverpool
29 April – O2 Academy Islington, London
Box Office: / 0844 477 2000
The main support act on the tour will be alt rock/synth pop artist Lisa Ronson, daughter of the guitarist and producer Mick Ronson. "Lisa carries on the Ronsonian spirit of remaining utterly contemporary and winningly melodic", David Buckley, Mojo.
The other support act will be Vita & The Vicious; a six piece London-based pop/rock band – dark and East End with shades of Blondie - fronted by feisty redhead Vita Ross.
An Academy Events and Maniac Squat Records production.