Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Keanan Duffty on David Bowie's Fashion Legacy.

By Jean E Palmieri, Womens Wear Daily, March 29 2016.

NEW YORK — David Bowie was more than just a rock legend — he was also a gentleman.

“They always say, don’t meet your heroes,” said designer Keanan Duffty. “But Bowie was a gentleman and very funny, and working with him definitely changed me.”

Duffty, a British-born designer and musician, collaborated with Bowie in 2007 on a line for Target that was inspired by the entertainer’s music and distinct fashion sense. Bowie’s 
gender-bending, glam-rock style was a major inspiration and reference to scores of fashion designers over the years, including Alexander McQueen, Hedi Slimane and Tommy Hilfiger. He died in January at the age of 69.

In a presentation to students and industry figures at the Fashion Institute of Technology’s Faces & Places in Fashion series, Duffty said Bowie died in “a creative burst of energy,” releasing a new album, working on an off-Broadway musical and an InstaMiniSeries on Instagram right before his death. “Bowie is a tremendous creative figure,” he said, “and, for me, a mystical figure.”

Duffty ran through the various stages of Bowie’s fashion life, starting with the Mod years, when he channeled the youth culture in London as he was starting out in his career. He then moved into the Hippie years, where he first stood out with his androgynous outfits, one of the most famous being the famous floral “man dress” made by Mr. Fish in London in 1971.

From there, Bowie headed into his “science fiction outer space rock star” era when he released the Ziggy Stardust album, dyed his spiky hair red and painted a lightning bolt across his face, Duffty said.
“This was the dawn of glam rock and a seminal fashion moment,” Duffty said. “This is where he went from following others to taking the lead — not just in fashion, but in hair and makeup, too.”
It’s also the time when he worked with Japanese designer Kansai Yamamoto, who created avant-garde kimono-style outfits for the singer.

As his fame grew, Bowie moved to Berlin “and started dressing like a normal person,” Duffty said. This was the era of “The Man Who Fell to Earth,” the science fiction drama film, when Bowie opted for “stark and more sophisticated clothes. He embraced modernism and looked to the future...as
an elder statesman of rock.”

By the time Duffty approached Bowie’s team about the Target collaboration, the rock star was leading a more private life. At the first meeting, the designer said he was expecting to see “a space alien,” but instead, met a man in Tommy Hilfiger chinos, suede boots by Roots and an ill-fitting sweatshirt who admitted he “wasn’t interested in fashion. But I told him I wanted to create a collection based on his fashion legacy.” Bowie agreed to cooperate although by this time he was a “wealthy global superstar” who didn’t need the publicity.

After Duffty had sketched out his ideas for the line, he brought Bowie’s albums to Target headquarters — the singer declined to make the trip — to show the executives the “rich tapestry” of his looks that illustrated the “evolution of what happened in fashion” over the years. And the Target team was all in.

Duffty related one anecdote about Bowie’s famous Moonage Daydream print that looked like a “circuit board” and was a favorite of the singer, who used it on a jumpsuit during his Ziggy Stardust years. Target didn’t buy that print, which Duffty had put on a T-shirt, but Bowie was insistent, saying, “They can’t take that out,” Duffty recalled. The retailer agreed to reconsider and add the shirt. “And the entire line sold out, except for the Moonage Daydream T-shirt,” Duffty said with a laugh. “You can find it on eBay for $5 now.

“The moral of the story is that a creative artist is not always the best judge of commercialism.”

While Duffty is obviously a fan, he said he’s found most people either love or hate Bowie — there’s no middle ground. “If you love him, you’ll be a fan for life. If you hate him, you can’t get over the mullet, the red hair and the one-legged jumpsuit,” he said. 

Friday, March 25, 2016

David Bowie will posthumously receive the Board of Director’s Tribute at the 2016 CFDA Fashion Awards in June.


MARCH 24, 2016
In fashion, few were (and still are) as inspiring as David Bowie, who will posthumously receive the Board of Director’s Tribute at the 2016 CFDA Fashion Awards in June.
Keanan Duffty was lucky enough to have worked with Bowie, and this coming Monday, CFDA Member will give a lecture titled “David Bowie: The Future’s Not What It Used To Be” at The Fashion Institute of Technology.  Duffty, a British fashion designer and musician based in New York City, plans to discuss Bowie’s legacy with an eye to fashion – and specifically how he looked to Bowie for inspiration.
“It started as a fascination from when I was a little kid seeing him on television in 1970s,” Duffty recalled. “To me, he was the doorway to creativity. He was the muse, the one who made me think it was okay to be creative.”
In the early 2000s, Duffty’s collection was heavily influenced by Bowie, and so he approached his muse’s  management with a concept for tour merch — but the timing was off then. He met his idol in 2006, and pitched him the idea to meet with Target about a potential collaboration. Duffty was naturally taken by Bowie.
“I was totally impressed by how he has this very otherworldly image in his performing career and, in person, was a real gentleman,” he recalled. “The thing that impressed me the most was his generosity as a collaborator. At one point, he said to me, ‘you have to make your name bigger.’ For a rock and roll icon and legend, that generous spirit made a big impression on me.”
The lecture is a nod to Duffty’s own fascination with Bowie. “Throughout the 1970s, Bowie was very much ‘the future,’” he said. “Whatever he did was a precursor to contemporary culture. He was a bit of a magpie for fashion. He grabbed what was around, used it and then moved on. In the process, he influenced people.”
Duffty himself learned valuable lessons from his Target collection. “I learned that the essence of what you are about has to be front and center,” he said. “We made a shirt that had the Moonage Daydream print on it. Target didn’t like the original style, but Bowie said, ‘That’s so Bowie, it has to be in the collection.”
He hopes the students will leave the lecture with valuable lessons of their own. As he put it, “The message of the lecture is for today’s students to find that inspiration for themselves.”
— Marc Karimzadeh

Homepage Photo:  Jimmy King/Philip Angert

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

“David Bowie: The Future's Not What It Used To Be”

Monday, March 28th, 4:10pm 
Katie Murphy Amphitheater, Pomerantz Center, 
Fashion Institute of Technology.
Designer Keanan Duffty discusses Bowie's legacy in fashion.
Part presentation, part Q and A, 
the "Faces & Places in Fashion" lecture  
series is an opportunity to connect students 
and the public alike to the pulse of the fashion 
industry in an open and conversational setting.

Saturday, March 12, 2016


BY HILARY HUGHES 8, 2016 | VILLAGE VOICE|  Photo Jill Greenberg

Go on, call me the one who's gone insane/Oh, I will be the one who's gone 

Holly Laessig and Jess Wolfe have just finished screaming into each other's faces. It's a rainy Tuesday night at the Gramercy Hotel's Rose Bar, and the singers are catching their breath before a wide-eyed crowd that witnessed the pair howling over the din of the band behind them. Wolfe and Laessig — who together provide the singular voice of indie-pop quintet Lucius — are used to sharing a microphone. In the studio, they stand face to face while singing into the same one, eyebrows arching and lips curling in unison as they work their way through a verse. Onstage, that mirror image extends to include their respective stations — mics, keyboards, drums — situated a few feet apart. A single dynamic microphone serves as a magnet here, as it does in the studio, but it's a boundary as well: If they leave their perches to convene during the set, it marks a line they approach but don't cross.

With the carbon-copy swirls of blood orange updos, kohl-painted eyes, and resplendent gold capes flecked with metallic sequins and fringe, Wolfe and Laessig seem less like identical twins than a conjoined pair from another planet. And just like siblings, they have their...moments. The fury that unfurled at Rose Bar — a reenactment of a real fight between them in the studio, now immortalized in song — was the climax of "Gone Insane," a track off their forthcoming record, Good Grief, out March 11; it's one of five from the album that they're performing for the first time before a live audience on this dreary January evening. "Gone Insane" is a runaway train of a skirmish, set to music: Laessig and Wolfe seethe at each other before their voices split off from the same melody and spiral up into two merciless, sparring tornadoes: You can't call me the one who's gone insane/'Cause we know you're the one who's gone insane. On their own, the lyrics of the chorus would be familiar to anyone who's received a blow below the belt (or thrown one), but the sound of these two women whipping each other with their vocal cords feels especially ferocious. Lucius fans are used to seeing Laessig and Wolfe as two halves of the same whole, weathering the dips and swells of brutal ballads or buoyant pop. They are not accustomed to Laessig and Wolfe turning on each other, their words serving as ammo in a battle of volume and verses.
The recording of "Gone Insane" is even more frightening in its viciousness. Onstage, the song still roars, but it remains relatively contained. There's an art to controlling the emotional chaos, and Lucius — which includes Peter Lalish, Andrew Burri, and Dan Molad (also Wolfe's husband) in various arrangements of drums and guitar — have mastered it just in time for Good Grief's live debut. Of the two hundred people jammed into the confines of the Rose Bar, only a handful have heard it in its entirety. Some of them murmur their approval of the band's choice to keep "Gone Insane" relatively civil in a live setting — while raising knowing eyebrows over how far the record's most daring song really goes. "Well," someone whispers to the person standing next to them, "they adapted that for the live show just perfectly."

Lucius did, in fact, adapt "Gone Insane" perfectly. The furious color eventually retreated from Laessig's and Wolfe's cheeks; their eyeliner didn't even run this time. But "Gone Insane" is merely a glimpse of the tempestuous power of Good Grief and the might of this new Lucius, who left New York to make it — and returned to the city a band transformed.

Lucius haven't seen a crowd as small as the Rose Bar's since their earliest gigs in New York, back when Wolfe and Laessig moved to Brooklyn together in 2007. They'd started collaborating as students at Boston's Berklee College of Music after moving there from the San Fernando Valley and Cleveland, respectively; their songwriting duo gradually expanded to the current quintet, with Burri's addition in the spring of 2012 rounding out the lineup as we now know it. They hadn't yet released a full-length album by the time, the following January, that they taped a Tiny Desk Concert at NPR showcasing five songs from their 2011 EP, Wildewoman, a study in catchy, complex pop. Later that month they sold out the Mercury Lounge, which can pack 250 people into its skinny bar and backroom, on the strength of those tracks and the endorsement of NPR's Bob Boilen.

From there Lucius went on to finish up their first LP, also titled Wildewoman; they hit the festival circuit months before its October 2013 release, with stops at South by Southwest, Bonnaroo, and the Wilco-curated Solid Sound preceding a sold-out show at the Bowery Ballroom that December. Laessig and Wolfe cut their hair into bobs so closely matched that they were frequently complimented on their new "wigs." ("I can't tell you how many times people have tried to touch our heads to see if they're fake," Wolfe notes with a giggle.) The tours grew longer and reached farther the following year, as did the list of high-profile appearances: "Turn It Around" became the soundtrack for a Samsung commercial, and the band earned glowing reviews for performances at Governors Ball, Lollapalooza, Sasquatch, and Newport Folk. By the time they returned to New York in December 2014, they were headlining a sold-out night at the 3,000-capacity Terminal 5. It was a meteoric rise. But a flame needs air to burn, and in Brooklyn, Lucius found themselves running out of oxygen.

"Just coming back from tour and being away for literally two and a half years, it started to feel really heavy," says Wolfe. Two days after the Rose Bar performance, she and Laessig are sitting at the Farm on Adderley, a favorite restaurant in Ditmas Park. "We wanted to feel like we could have a real respite, and [New York] stopped feeling like that. This was home for a long time. I still consider it our hometown in many ways. Our baby was sort of birthed here."

They're wearing their hair in matching jellyroll styles and sporting twin capes again, steely gray over cerulean dresses that offset the stark red of their locks. They had stayed at the Gramercy the night of the Good Grief preview performance, but now they're stopping by their old haunts, pointing out the spot across the street where Laessig used to work and gushing over the Sycamore, the flower shop–bar hybrid owned by their friends next door.

"The last year and a half we toured, we were home a nonconsecutive thirteen days," says Laessig. "Ditmas Park is special, because it does feel more restful than other places in New York, but New York in general is sensory overload. We were just like, 'Give me space!' and that's what Los Angeles did."

Los Angeles is home now, or at least it is for Laessig, Wolfe, and Molad (Burri and Lalish still live in New York when they aren't on the road). For Wolfe, who grew up in an L.A. suburb, this is a return, though that doesn't diminish the significance of ditching New York. "It was really difficult to make that decision to leave, but I think it was time for some change," she says. "So we thought, 'Let's just pick up, move across the country, and see how it goes.' "

"We drove from New York to California in the van," Laessig adds. "It was like, 'The last thing I want to do is tour anymore! I'm at the end of the rope!' We were like, 'Well, let's just drive across the country. That'll be relaxing.' It actually was."

My heart's so heavy, I'm gonna need your help/Losing my grip while holding everything else.

The route Lucius traveled from Brooklyn to Los Angeles resounds throughout Good Grief, which they started writing here and finished out west. "Madness," Good Grief's opener, was written in Ditmas; urban intensity echoes in its extravagant orchestrations and blunt-force severity ("I had a dream where you were standing there with a gun up to my head" are the first words we hear on the album). The verses of the closing track, "Dusty Trails," took shape in the Joshua Tree before the band drove north to L.A., and that stretch of desert is present in its ambling acoustic guitar and Laessig and Wolfe's cloud-climbing vocals. You hear concrete, chain link, and laughter in crowded bars on the tracks that were written in New York; you hear lonely dawn drives, swaying palms, and wide-open spaces on those penned in California. This is what makes Good Grief a true (and rare) bicoastal record.

Laessig and Wolfe love to locate Good Grief's songs geographically: where they were written, the structural details of homes where the group stayed (the New Haven brownstone, the Long Island beach cottage, the Echo Park bungalow). A hilltop house made of reclaimed materials in L.A.'s Montecito Heights stands out as a favorite landmark, the place that provided the respite they'd left New York to find. The property, which Wolfe refers to as "the Mountain," is a popular retreat for musicians: The Head and the Heart worked on their forthcoming record there before Lucius moved in, and Jim James, My Morning Jacket's frontman and the house's current tenant, followed them after they moved out. (Meat Yard and Psycho Pomp, the two prehistoric-looking, kale-munching turtles that also reside on the Mountain, would have some pretty good stories if they could talk.) With views that sweep from the Pacific to downtown's neon bustle and up over Dodger Stadium and the Hollywood sign, the Mountain was the perfect location for Lucius to feel removed from the sprawl of their new city as they finished up writing Good Grief and began arranging and recording it.


Friday, March 11, 2016

David Bowie - 'Strangers When We Meet' CD


Target Release Bowie Cd To Mark New Duffty Range

We scavenge up our clothes...

Check out the press release section for everything you need to know about a new range at Target designed by Keanan Duffty. The limited-edition men's collection is called Bowie by Keanan Duffty, and you've probably guessed from whence Keanan drew his inspiration...

"David Bowie has always brought left field ideas to mainstream pop culture and has defined his own unique aesthetic and personality," Duffty said. "Target strives to bring creativity and individuality to its guests, making this collection a perfect fit."

To mark the occasion, Target will be selling the above exclusive 6-track compilation CD which will be displayed alongside the fashion collection. The CD, entitled Strangers When We Meet, will retail for $4.99 and features tracks from current, forthcoming and proposed Virgin/EMI David Bowie catalogue releases.

Here's the tracklisting...

01 - The Jean Genie (Live) from 'Santa Monica '72'
02 - Strangers When We Meet from 'The Buddha of Suburbia' New Edition Package (Out now)
03 - Oh! You Pretty Things from 'Hunky Dory' Collector's Special Edition CD
04 - Word On A Wing (Live) from 'Nassau Live '76'
05 - Always Crashing In The Same Car from 'Low' Collector's Special Edition CD
06 - Young Americans (Live Audio) from 'Glass Spider' Live Tour DVD (Out now)

This is a very limited release, and though we're hoping to get our hands on five contest copies, it would be advisable to snap one up if you see them in stores. I don't think they will be available online.

I should also point out that the four tracks from 'forthcoming and proposed' releases in the above tracklisting, are really no indication that these releases are on the horizon or that they will even definitely see the light of day...in other words, please don't expect any firmer release dates in the near future.

Don't forget you can read more about Keanan Duffty's Bowie range in the press release section.