Tuesday, May 12, 2009

best gifts

as we used to say in soviet russia "book is the best gift". i made myself several amazing gifts today and was rushing home to start flipping through the pages..

what first attracted my attention in the window of a thrift bookstore was a beautifully designed cover of "russian style". then i saw the name of the author which sounded familiar, and realized that it was the evelina khromchenko - well-known for her stylish looks and immense influence on russian fashion world editor-in-chief of my beloved l'officiel russia. the book occured to be not only nicely designed but also smartly written. being a modern ABC with fashion pictures on russian culture and so-called misterious "russian soul" it gracefully avoids cliches and denounces many of the stereotypes. (for example, it explains that "za zdoroviye!" is a toast while "na zdoroviye!" is an answer to someone's "spasibo") an absolute "must" to read for anyone interested in the subject - and one of the most precious new additions on my bookshelves.

i wrote about edward steichen and his graphic compositions just couple entries before after attending ICP exhibition on fashion photography. his book "in high fashion" is a classic on style and lighting technique, an endless source of inspiration, and a proof that great pictures don't age despite of the subject matter.

diane arbus is my muse. her pictures are misterious, and sometimes scary, but at the same time so romantic and kind. by the way, if you haven't seen the movie "fur" with nicole kidman as diane arbus - please put it on your netflix queue right now! of course, only "inspired by" it's an exciting and visually inspiring story.

rene magrtitte has always been one of my favorites. i remeber how stunned i was to see his exhibition at hermitage museum about 10 years ago. i wrote down the names of all the paintings in a little notepad, and spent hours in front of the pictures trying to desipher them, to solve the colorful riddles - until they closed the museum. i returned to the exhibition the next day and repeated the circle. i know that i will probably spend hours reading annotations in the pictures in this book echoing to my recollections from the past. the images are still in my head. my head is a green apple, i am wearing an invisible bowler, and the sky outside is of a brightly turquoise color.

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