Here is your Daily Couple's Horoscope for Sunday, May 19
The best part of being in a relationship is making it up as you go along. You could plan everything out, but then you'd miss all the spontaneous fun! Go on and have an unplanned adventure with your sweetie today.
To Florida by Louise Gluck
Southward floated over
The vicious little houses, down
The land. Past Carolina, where
The bloom began
Beneath their throbbing clouds, they fed us
Coldcuts, free. We had our choice.
Below, the seasons twist; years
Roll backward toward the can
Like film, and the mistake appears,
To scale, soundlessly. The signs
Light up. Across the aisle
An old man twitches in his sleep. His mind
Will firm in time. His health
Will meet him at the terminal.
French president signs gay marriage into law after wrenching national debate
By Angela Charlton, The Associated Press | The Canadian Press – 6 hours ago
PARIS - France will see its first gay weddings within days, after French President Francois Hollande signed a law Saturday authorizing marriage and adoption by same-sex couples and ending months of nationwide protests and wrenching debate.
Hollande's office said he signed the bill Saturday morning, a day after the constitutional Council struck down a challenge to the law and ruled it in line with France's constitution.
Hollande, a Socialist, had made legalizing gay marriage one of his campaign pledges last year. While polls for years have shown majority support for gay marriage in France, adoption by same-sex couples is more controversial.
The parliamentary debate exposed a deep conservatism and attachment to traditional families in France's rural core that is often eclipsed by and at odds with libertine Paris.
But mostly, it tapped into deep discontent with the Socialist government, largely over Hollande's handling of the economy. Months of anti-gay marriage protests became a flashpoint for frustrations with Hollande, and occasionally degenerated into violence.
In addition, gay rights groups reported a rise in attacks on homosexuals as the parliamentary debate was under way. Protest organizers distanced themselves from the trouble-makers.
The opposition isn't ready to give up. It plans a protest May 26 that aims to parlay the success of the anti-gay marriage movement into a broader anti-Hollande one. Among those expected to attend is Jean-Francois Cope, the leader of the opposition UMP party, riven by divisions and struggling for direction since Nicolas Sarkozy lost the presidency last year.
Hollande warned that he wouldn't accept any disruption of France's first gay marriages.
One couple signed up Saturday to tie the knot on May 29 in the gay-friendly southern French city of Montpellier.
"We're very happy that today we can finally talk of love after all the talk of legislation and political battles," one of the future newlyweds, Vincent Autin, said on France-Info radio.
According to French law, couples must register to marry in city hall and wait at least 10 days before holding a ceremony so that anyone objecting to the union — such as an existing spouse — has time to intervene.
Marketing whizzes are already preparing lesbian and gay cake toppers, his-and-his wedding bands, and other services for France's gay weddings.
Despite the protests, the law passed easily in both houses of parliament, which are dominated by Hollande's Socialists. And the constitutional Council said, "Marriage as a union between a man and a woman cannot be considered a fundamental principle."
France is the most populous country to have legal gay marriages, and the 14th country worldwide. In the United States, Minnesota became the 12th state in the country to legalize same-sex unions on Tuesday.
In neighbouring Belgium, thousands of people took to the confetti-covered streets of Brussels to take part in an annual gay pride march on Saturday. Trucks blasting music and carrying dance floors made their way through cheering crowds. Belgium legalized gay marriage 10 years ago and permitted adoption for same-sex couples seven years ago.
WEDNESDAY, APR 24, 2013 08:46 AM EDT
Violence in France following gay marriage victory
Protests took an angry and sometimes violent turn after France became the 14th country to legalize gay marraige
BY KATIE MCDONOUGH
TOPICS: VIDEO, GAY MARRIAGE, MARRIAGE EQUALITY, PROTEST, VIOLENCE, FRANCE, LIFE NEWS, NEWS, POLITICS NEWS
While others in the country celebrated, protests in Paris, Lyon and elsewhere took an aggressive, sometimes violent, turn following the French parliament’s vote to legalize gay marriage and extend equal adoption rights to same-sex couples.
In the final reading of the proposal on Tuesday, the National Assembly voted 331 to 225 to adopt the bill. Soon after, anti-gay marriage protestors in Paris began to clash with riot police stationed in the area.
As reported by the Local:
Despite the requests of organizers that marchers disperse peacefully, a hard core group of around 500 refused to leave the Invalides.
Their anger soon boiled over as bottles and firecrackers were hurled at the riot police, who had blocked off a street leading to the parliament.
One officer was taken to hospital with a head wound after being hit by a brick. “The clashes were extremely violent,” one officer told French media.
Police, who responded with tear gas, made 12 arrests. The protesters also turned their ire on journalists in the vicinity, shouting “scumbags” and “collaborators” at the members of the press. At one point a mob of masked protesters chased a group of journalists down the street and a photographer from AFP was sprayed with tear gas.
Interior Minister Manuel Valls later said those arrested were linked to far-right organizations.
There were also violent clashes in the city of Lyon, where anti-gay marriage protesters took to the streets to express their anger. Police said they had made 44 arrests.
h/t Towle Road
Katie McDonough is an assistant editor for Salon, focusing on lifestyle. Follow her on Twitter @kmcdonovgh or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
MORE KATIE MCDONOUGH.
Little White Lies: French Flick Splits the Difference Between Friendship and Love
By Daniel D'Addario 8/21/12 5:49pm
Fans of The Artist’s Oscar-winning star Jean Dujardin will be delighted to see that he can do caddish modern-day egotist as well as he does caddish silent-film-era egotist. In the opening scene of Little White Lies, the camera tracks Mr. Dujardin, as Ludo, through a club as he looks for cocaine, brusquely propositions girls, dances like an ape to outdated pop music and finally hops on a motorcycle. The camera trails from a respectable distance—the perfect distance to capture Ludo’s motorcycle getting hit by an oncoming truck.
Little White Lies, with its first cut, becomes a radically different film than it might have been: the story of a Parisian rake becomes the tale of a group of friends banding together in the face of mortality. However, they’re not supporting the hospitalized Ludo; they’re going on a pre-planned vacation that was originally set to include an able-bodied Ludo. Though he can’t make it, a sense of foreboding manages to join them on the trip.
Among the vacationers are host Max (François Cluzet), who is obsessive about the quality of his summer home, destroying walls in the hunt for weasels, and Vincent (Benoît Magimel), who’s not gay—really! He just really, really loves Max. And has confessed to him. And the two have mutually decided to get past it. Meanwhile, Antoine (Laurent Lafitte) is so obsessed with the texts his ex is sending him that he drives a motorboat onto dry land, while Marie (Marion Cotillard), Ludo’s former girlfriend, feels regret over leaving Ludo’s bedside and a palpable boredom with her old routine of seducing that she can’t help but keep enacting.
If this sounds like a strange mélange of comedy and drama, well, it is, in precisely the manner of The Big Chill, the new classic that Little White Lies emulates down to its soundtrack of American pop and rock standards. The characters are purposefully distracting themselves from aging and death by discrediting the louche persona of the absent Ludo, whose vices have made him the first of the gang to suffer major misfortune. And yet their distractions lend the film its humor, as the viewers’ attentions, along with the characters’, drift far from his hospital room. The performances and, in turn, the on-screen relationships indicate the sort of chemistry only a group of longtime friends can share.
Yet the diversions of the group are indulged for far too long. Like a real vacation, Little White Lies goes from fun to exhausting around the halfway mark, as certain scenes drag on. Why are we spending movie minutes watching the gang frolic in the water to Creedence Clearwater Revival? And why, when the water sports get too vicious and lead to a breakdown that has Marie screaming at her friends, does the camera cut away just as she’s reaching high dudgeon? The only consequence is that Marie gets revenge—we suppose it’s “revenge”—by spraying one of her tormentors with whipped cream. It’s not that the film is too long, necessarily. It’s that director Guillaume Canet (Ms. Cotillard’s real-life partner) is too much a member of the group, seeking to convey minor incident at length while pushing major developments onto the back burner—often presented mute with a pop soundtrack overlay. The actors deserve better.
And when they’re given the space to really act, the cast works wonders. Ms. Cotillard, who has struggled in English-language films despite having been given opportunities to work with practically ever major filmmaker in America and Europe, feels here like a newcomer, or perhaps a comeback artist. The dull Christopher Nolan days are forgotten. Rather than playing some outsized femme fatale or object of desire, Ms. Cotillard nails the role of a woman afraid of her own future, and haunted by her past. Mr. Magimel does his part as well, in the story line in which Mr. Canet’s refusal to commit fully to high drama actually succeeds: we never get a full sense of how or why Vincent realized he was in love with his best male friend, and there’s no tiresome exposition. The film, in this case, seems like the best part of hanging out with longtime friends—information just bubbles from the ether, its origin forgotten.
By the time the film ends, the characters have all reckoned with their selfishness—and their apparent lightheartedness, and seemingly ironic fun, throughout seem almost savagely insouciant. The movie justifies, in some sense, its focus on the fun that Marie, Max and company have had when it finally indicts them for their cruelty to Ludo. While it takes some work and attentiveness to get to this point, the film’s evolution into a critique of 30-something self-absorption makes it a small-scale success.
LITTLE WHITE LIES
Running Time 154 minutes
Written and Directed by Guillaume Canet
Starring François Cluzet, Marion Cotillard and Benoît Magimel
Three out of four stars
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One Leg At a Time: The Intouchables Is a Story of Strength and Resolve
By Rex Reed 5/23/12 11:46am
Already a huge hit in Europe, France’s crowd-pleasing The Intouchables seems destined to repeat its success here. Written and directed by Eric Toledano and Olivier Nakache, it’s the factual story of an unconventional relationship between a millionaire quadriplegic from the ritziest neighborhood in Paris and his Senegalese caregiver from the ghetto—a bond that begins as a working one but builds, through trust and care and shared experiences, into a lasting friendship that changes two unhappy lives forever. It has warmth, humor and an understated sweetness that is not to be taken for granted.
The daily manifestations of washing, changing, massaging, shaving, cleaning, spoon-feeding and lifting a paralyzed patient are so daunting that Philippe Pozzo di Borgo (played with heartbreaking patience and moment-to-moment honesty by the great French actor Francois Cluzet) is always interviewing new job applicants. Many over-qualified nurse-companions apply, but there is something intriguing, irritating and challenging about Driss (Omar Sy) that rouses Philippe’s curiosity. The man’s rebellious spirit, irreverent attitude and lack of pity are refreshing. And he more than lives up to his promise. Driss hates the job at first, refusing to change Philippe’s diapers, insulting his taste in music and generally marking time until he can go back on welfare. But the film derives its emotional impact from the surprising ways the two men overcome their differences and learn to help each other to a better level in life.
Driss is a homeless man with a criminal record for robbery and no focus or direction. He’s rude and arrogant, with his own blunt brand of pragmatism and logic. The first thing he does is steal a priceless Fabergé egg that belonged to Philippe’s beloved late wife. Philippe is a rich invalid with nothing to live for who is warned by his staff and his business advisors to be careful about granting a man of unsavory character access to his home and unlimited power over his deteriorating physical condition. Gradually, their horizons expand. So aghast at the price of a painting Philippe buys in an art gallery that he decides he can do it better himself, laughing hysterically at his first visit to the Paris Opera, acting as a makeshift therapist to Philippe’s neurotic teenage daughter, teaching his boss how to smoke a joint while making him listen to Earth, Wind and Fire, Driss exerts an influence that heals some of his boss’s emotional pain. Philippe, in turn, teaches his uneducated caregiver to appreciate Vivaldi and passes him off to the pretentious art world as an important new painter whose work is worthy of a pricey investment. Since Philippe was paralyzed from the neck down from a paragliding accident, you can’t help but feel the terror and the ultimate thrill of their bond when they share the risk of paragliding to Nina Simone’s “Feeling Good.”
Eventually Driss learns compassion and responsibility while Philippe gains courage to take control of his own life and even seek romance. It’s all a bit too neatly resolved and, although it is a true story, some of the incidents are hard to swallow. For laughs, Driss stages an elaborate, life-threatening high-speed chase through the streets of Paris while Philippe fakes having an epileptic seizure to get a police escort to the hospital emergency entrance. Then when the cops leave, they drive away, pleased with their mischief. I had a rough time joining in the fun myself. Issues of class and racial tension pop up only in the underprivileged world Driss comes from. Philippe’s upper-class milieu seems to take everything in stride—suspicious at first because a black man from the streets given full reign in a mansion filled with treasures is a worrisome thing. But Driss wins over every white man in sight, especially when he shows off his hip-hop skills, and before it ends, he has total control of the house and everyone in it. A bit of a credulity stretch there, not to mention the fact that when Driss buys his first suit, Philippe’s secretary says he looks like Barack Obama. Sometimes the writing dispenses a condescension the filmmakers might not even be aware of. Still, the film has a life-affirming resistance to sloppy sentimentality that is bracing. And the acting is dynamic. For obvious reasons, Mr. Sy has all of the movement and action, and he’s a lively, colorful counterpart, but the wheelchair-bound Mr. Cluzet is the revelation. His expressions reveal myriad emotions from a motionless face that tell volumes about what he is thinking, feeling and sharing from within.
The Intouchables serves up a tasty abundance of charm, warmth and humanity that makes its popularity in Europe understandable. It’s the kind of feel-good movie that turns up as rarely as a winning lottery ticket.
Running Time 112 minutes
Written and Directed by Olivier Nakache and Eric Toledano
Starring François Cluzet, Omar Sy and Anne Le Ny
Martinique: “Think Like A Man”, Just Not in France
Written by Fabienne Flessel On 8 May 2012 @ 17:47 pm | 28 Comments
In Arts & Culture, Caribbean, Citizen Media, Economics & Business, English, Ethnicity & Race, Feature, Film, French, Martinique, Media & Journalism, Politics, Weblog
UPDATE: May 23, 2012, 9:20 pm We understand from the Allo Ciné cinema website that the status of the film “Think Like a Man” is “prochainement” (coming soon), as it has been for quite some time. Sony, the film's distributor, just issued a statement here , saying that there were never any plans for a French release date for the movie. Thus, while Afro-American films are generally not “cancelled”, strictly speaking, they are often not released, with no explanation. One possible reason for this could be the nature of the film distribution system in the country: major companies do not customize releases; they release a film in hundreds of movie theaters, or not at all. Smaller companies may release “arty” films that are likely to attract a niche audience in independent movie houses. The Afro-French community does not, by and large, have specific movie houses or distribution systems in France, perhaps because census, geolocalization, surveys and marketing based on racial standards and statistics are strictly forbidden in the country. Thus, movie-goers interested by Afro-american films usually have to wait for their video release .
Just weeks after the debate surrounding the election of Miss Black France 2012 , another question is being discussed by French people of African descent: the cancellation alleged  [fr] cancellation of the release of the American movie “Think Like A Man ” in French movie theaters.
How does an American movie find a place in the French social debate?
Surprising as it may be, the answer lies in the fact that the film has an all-black cast. French cinema is often pointed at for not fairly displaying all components of the country's multiethnic population. Although the recent success of the movie Les Intouchables , which earned French African actor Omar Sy  the Cesar award  for Best Actor in 2012, caused great pride and hope among French nationals from Africa and the Caribbean, it was not to be the turning point for a deep and lasting change.
Movie Poster for "Think Like a Man"
Martinican blogger Bondamanjak is very cynical after this tainted victory, as he explains  [fr] that Omar Sy's award nomination did not come all naturally, but was rather due to the great number of viewers in theaters.
Et la France comme un seul homme oublie que Omar Sy ne figurait pas sur la liste des nominés aux Césars [...] Il a fallu que ‘Intouchables’ touche la barre des 19 000 000 d'entrées que ça râle un peu beaucoup pour que ce flagrant délit de mauvais scénario soit reconnu par l'immonde monde du cinéma français. Mais qu'on se rassure, cette récompense n'est qu'une opportuniste goutte d'eau dans un désert qui avance.
And all French people as one man forget that Omar Sy was not initially shortlisted as a nominee for the Cesars [...] It was only when the ‘Intouchables’ reached 19 000 000 viewers in theaters, that people started calling out to the French movie industry about its indignant attitude, and that they acknowledged the wrong. However be sure that this award is only an opportunistic drop of water in a desert which keeps moving forward.
How can racial profiling in cinema be explained?
Martinican blog People Bo Kay reposts a note published  [fr] on the Facebook page of Negro News , entitled “France does not want all-black couples in movies”. This analysis, which has now gone viral, develops ideas about communalism and politics in France, which are supposed to explain the rejection of the movie.
Il faut rappeler qu'il y a dans l’État français, une stratégie socio-politique qui tend à prôner le métissage plutôt que la valorisation des communautés. Dans la comédie ‘Think like a Man', les couples noirs sont mis en avant.
The French state has had a sociopolitical strategy which favors interracial relationships rather than valuing communities. In the comedy ‘Think like a Man', the focus is on black couples.
According to this note, the other explanation to the blocking of African-American films in France (despite their profitability) is that:
À noter, les films de l'acteur et producteur noir Tyler Perry ne sont jamais programmés dans les salles françaises ou alors ils sortent directement en DVD. Pourtant ce producteur a pour habitude de dominer le box-office américain avec des films comme ‘Why did I get Married’ et “For Colored Girls”. La société française dans toute son hypocrisie ne veut surtout pas diffuser des films de producteurs noirs qui gagnent des millions de dollars en faisant passer un message positif pour la diaspora africaine grâce à leurs films.
Black actor and producer Tyler Perry's movies are never scheduled in any French movie theaters or are only released in DVDs, even though he has been used to leading the US box-office, as with ‘Why did I get Married’ and ‘For Colored Girls'. The French society acts hypocritically, when it refuses to show movies from black producers who earn millions from conveying a positive message to the African diaspora through their films.
In the same vein, other French Afro-Caribbean netizens, like the collective of female bloggers at La Scandaleuse condemns  [fr] how some well-known French movie magazines and websites have openly underrated the movie and its cast:
Première.fr ne comprend pas comment un film avec une majorité d’acteurs noirs peut-être premier du box office! Ne connaissant aucun acteur, ils se permettent alors d’écrire «cette comédie au pitch classique et sans tête d’affiche (le chanteur Chris Brown est le nom le plus connu du générique).» Faut il vous faire la filmographie de tous les acteurs ? Non car cela est votre travail !
Première.fr does not understand how a movie with a mainly black cast could actually lead the box-office! Since they know none of the actors, they dare to write ‘this comedy has a conventional plot and no famous actors (singer Chris Brown is the best known in this cast).’ Should the readers make filmographies for all actors? No that's your job!
This lack of knowledge about African-American actors, even when they are world-famous, echoes, according to La Scandaleuse, a French trend:
Mais peut-être que dans un pays comme la France où on a du mal à faire tourner des acteurs noirs, la surprise ne peut-être que grande face au succès de «Think Like a Man» ! Qui, d’ailleurs, n’est pas présenté comme un film afro par ses acteurs ni par son réalisateur, c’est un film universel, ce qui explique son succès au box office!
Maybe in a country like France, where black actors hardly play in any movies, it is very surprising to understand the great success of ‘Think Like a Man'! A movie, which is not presented as exclusively African-American, neither by the actors nor the director. It is a universal movie, which explains its success in the charts!
African diaspora-oriented Afrik.com weighs in by adding  [fr]:
Si l’article de Première.fr semble certainement mal documenté, c’est avant tout un exemple parmi d’autres du refus des diffuseurs et du milieu du cinéma français de miser sur des films dans lesquels la majorité des acteurs sont noirs ou même de miser sur leur éventuel succès. Sous couvert de logiques économiques frileuses, ce «genre» de films, qu’ils soient américains ou français, n’existent quasiment pas dans les salles françaises.
The article published on Première.fr most definitely suffers a lack of research. But it is above all an example, among others, of the refusal expressed by the French cinema industry to bank on movies where the cast is mainly black or to bank on their potential success. They hide behind a non-daring financial rationale to block these ‘types’ of movies, whether French or American, from French movie theaters.
The image used in this post, “Think Like a Man” , is by Film_Poster, used under an Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0) Creative Commons license . Visit Film_Poster's flickr photostream .
Article printed from Global Voices: http://globalvoicesonline.org
URL to article: http://globalvoicesonline.org/2012/05/0
URLs in this post:
 here: http://www.bet.com/news/celebrities/201
 wait for their video release: http://www.sochoklate.com/?p=2894
 election of Miss Black France 2012: http://globalvoicesonline.org/2012/04/3
 alleged: http://www.people-bokay.com/la-france-n
 Think Like A Man: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Think_Like
 Les Intouchables: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intouchabl
 Omar Sy: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Omar_
 Cesar award: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/C%C3%A9sar
 explains: http://www.bondamanjak.com/index.php/fr
 Facebook page of Negro News: https://www.facebook.com/NegroNews
 condemns: http://lascandaleuse.com/2012/04/2
 weighs in by adding : http://www.afrik.com/article25524.html
 “Think Like a Man”: http://www.flickr.com/photos/filmp
 an Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0) Creative Commons license: http://creativecommons.org/license
 Film_Poster's flickr photostream: http://www.flickr.com/photos/filmp
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MAY 9, 2013
By Matthew Schneier
Chanel is on vacation. It's part of the definition of its Cruise line, right there in the name. So Karl Lagerfeld led his legions to Singapore. It's boiling here, 100 degrees in the shade, but that's not to suggest Lagerfeld has slowed down a bit. On the contrary, he showed a collection—collection, he clarified, not pre-collection—as vast and various as any of his other ready-to-wear bounties. This one, though, in the spirit of Cruise, had a holidaying pluck. There was a fifties-inflected soundtrack, with snatches of Elvis and Yma Sumac courtesy of Michel Gaubert, and a bouncy ease to the key new silhouette of high-waisted, wide-leg trousers worn with what were essentially oversize T-shirts—though rendered, in appropriately luxe fashion, from white leather and tulle.
That half step toward laddishness—the pearl-trimmed sort championed by the young Coco Chanel, with her menswear fabrics and her suiting, her boys' tailoring inspired by Boy's tailoring—gave the collection its sprightly freshness. After the dark glamour of Fall, with its seductive, witchy toughness, this was a lark. But a summary doesn't give Chanel's craftsmanship its due: the oceans of beaded embroidery, the slick flash of latex-gilded lace, the pitch-black lacquer on Cara Delevingne's plumed cape and skirt. Even Lagerfeld seemed struck by some of the feats. "I have a girl who works with me," he said, "the genius behind all the Chanel materials…. I can tell you, she tortures the manufacturers. She is a tough cookie." So says the toughest.
The question remained: Why Singapore? The label has six stores here, and many were quick to sniff out a play for the Asian market. But Lagerfeld only shrugged and suggested, in effect, that he'd been just about everywhere else. He'd taken inspiration from some elements of Singaporean culture—most notably, the traditional black-and-white woven curtains that adorn the island's homes, which hung around the palatial venue and lent the collection its graphic palette—but further than that, Lagerfeld insisted his Singapore was a dream Singapore. He hadn't researched, not really. "I research with instinct, you see. It has to be a vague impression, but don't get into the details. Reinvent the details."
But some details are too uncanny to invent. He had come across a photo of a Singaporean fisherman from 1880. "The top," he said, "it's a white jacket, black braids, and four pockets. It's unbelievable. This man has a Chanel jacket." Coco avant la lettre.
FALL 2013 READY-TO-WEAR
MARCH 5, 2013
By Tim Blanks
"I've got my feet on the ground, but this collection is up-to-earth, not down-to-earth." While he was speaking, Karl Lagerfeld was strategically placed under the massive globe that majestically revolved, center stage, during the Chanel presentation this morning. So the only way to earth was, in fact, up. But, figuratively speaking, the collection he showed was also "up": one of those confident, energetic, clothes-packed epics that he could probably draw in his sleep. (Not as banal as it sounds—Lagerfeld has often said he awakes from dreams and sketches a collection on the spot. He refers to it as "automatic" designing.)
Bouncy confidence hasn't always produced convincing Chanel shows, but here there was a sepulchral undercurrent that was utterly seductive. The globe was dark, as though night had fallen on the world. The clothes were dark, too. And lean: a favorite silhouette fitted to the hip, then flared into a short skirt over leather cuissardes (so much better-sounding than their literal English translation, "waders"). The other key shape was equally streamlined, cut high on the thigh at the front, dipping to mid-calf at the back. This mutant redingote had a slightly libertine flair, which felt more Karl than Coco.
Even though it was night, the darkling was sparkling. "Not depressing," Lagerfeld emphasized. Tweeds glittered, metallic thread brought shine to wovens. Aymeline Valade was entangled in a wonderful, shiny spirographic web. The effect was a little starlight spacey, though that impression might also have been steered by the Cardin-esque helmets some of the models were wearing. (They were, said Lagerfeld, actually facsimiles, in fur, of Anna Wintour's iconic bob.)
As usual with Chanel, the fabrics defied comprehension. Anything that looked woven was just as likely to be an artful web of embroidery, like the explosions of monochrome flowers toward the end of the show. But, unlike with the couture, we were too far away for specifics, and that sense of distance underscored a point Lagerfeld wanted to make about the size of Chanel's business. The scale of the house's ready-to-wear presentations has often seemed like a metaphor in itself, and today, with the globe that revolved before our eyes, dotted with hundreds of logo-ed flags showing the location of every Chanel shop, it was even more suggestive. If only Lagerfeld had popped out the top at the finale to straddle the planet…he's not usually one to slight a subtext, and Karl-as-Kolossos would simply have reaffirmed his role as the one and only dominator.
DECEMBER 4, 2012
By Tim Blanks
"Dressed to kilt." Get real, how else was Karl Lagerfeld going to define the collection he showed for Chanel outside of Edinburgh tonight? The tweeds, the knits, the cardigans, the man-styled essence of Chanel all came from Scotland and the time that Coco spent there with her lover the Duke of Westminster. But tonight's venue was Linlithgow Palace, where Mary, Queen of Scots, was born almost exactly seven centuries ago, and her tragic life gave Lagerfeld the perfect opportunity to gloss Chanel's easy pragmatism with an element of doomed romance. It was a fantastic combination.
Maybe that's because it was kind of personal for the designer. The first French poem he ever learned, at the age of six, was all about Mary. Then there's that umbilical connection between Scotland and France, which history recognizes as the Grand Alliance. And in Lagerfeld's team tonight, he had Sam McKnight on hair and Stella Tennant on all-round fabulosity. In other words, there was something quintessentially Scottish in the air. "Barbarian romance," Lagerfeld called it.
Linlithgow's courtyard was lined with flaming braziers, spitting sparks into the snow flurries. Guests made their way up spiral stone stairs to the palace's great hall and chapel, open to the heavens since marauding Hanoverians torched the building in January 1746. After the show, they made their way back down a labyrinthine wooden construction to dinner in a tented fantasia that had hardened souls gasping with wonder. This was the irreality that a fashion show transported us to in December 2012. It sure beats coal mining for a daily crust. With impressive ease, Lagerfeld translated the sense of occasion into something that grandly allied Chanel's original Parisian proportions with Scottish tradition. Picture Stella Tennant in a drop-waisted kilt-pleated coat. But also imagine that kilt in chiffon and lace. And the tartans and tweeds, the Fair Isles and argyles that would have garbed lords and ladies of the glen reconfigured in languid knits and patchwork, layered in swingy jackets, accessorized as delightfully with jewels, feathered hats, flowing scarves, and patterned tights as one could wish from a collection that was created to celebrate the "métiers d'art" of the Chanel ateliers.
True, there were a few costume-y moments, in which it looked like the models had slithered straight off a canvas in the National Gallery of Scotland. A final passage of white wool gowns touched with lace and feathers, meanwhile, was an almost operatic exercise in pure technique. There's always the sense with Chanel that Lagerfeld shows much more than he needs to, and that was the case here. Still, this was a sterling collection of clothes for a day you can only imagine being a hell of a lot better than the one that will greet you tomorrow morning.
SPRING 2013 READY-TO-WEAR
OCTOBER 2, 2012
By Tim Blanks
From icebergs to apocalypse, Chanel's stage sets have established the goalposts for Napoleonic excess in fashion. Today's backdrop featured a wind farm and solar panels. The reason? "The wind and sun are free," Karl Lagerfeld said disingenuously. They would have been the only things that were, in a presentation that was so overwhelming in its scale it was no easy task for the sweet clothes to make an impression. Still, there were clear messages. The silhouette was dominated by an A-line or a bolero. Lagerfeld loved the skirt dress—pulled up in a bustier style—as opposed to the shirtdress. (In chambray, it said all you need to know about the ever-younger spirit of Karl's Chanel, with its supporting cast of new muses.) The graphic quality felt new, in keeping with the stripey shirt and tie the designer himself wore. He claimed his three-dimensional cutouts in chiffon dresses were designed to introduce airiness to volume. "Normally they don't go together," Lagerfeld offered. Maybe it was that desire for lightness—in what has been an often dark season—that also saw him shelve the braid, the buttons, and the chains in favor of a liberal scattering of pearls.
There is always so much on a Chanel catwalk that a slightly schizophrenic quality inevitably begins to insinuate itself. Did a cobalt blue smock top truly come from the same creative source as sheer, tatter-trimmed hostess pajamas? But in the end, the path of excess did lead to the palace of wisdom, or at least the clarity of dressy white pieces appliquéd with flowers that looked like candy wrappers. Sweetness prevailed.
Back to that set: Lagerfeld was in love with the architectural modernism of the wind turbines, but the message of sustainable energy seemed particularly pertinent to a designer who possesses the resilience of a man a quarter his age. "Energy is the most important thing in life" were Lagerfeld's words from the wise. "The rest comes later."
FALL 2012 COUTURE
JULY 3, 2012
By Tim Blanks
Maybe it's because he speaks so fast that there always seems to be a slight undertow of scorn in Karl Lagerfeld's aperçus. "In fashion, the future is six months," he practically spat after Chanel's Couture show today. That could be why he took New Vintage as his theme. "Vintage is depressing," Lagerfeld clarified. "But 'new vintage' is something to come. It's preparation for something that could last."
The show was staged in the Grand Palais, as has become custom, but this time Lagerfeld used the Salon d'Honneur, a space that had been closed off for 70 years. The walls were painted, the ceiling and door surrounds customized to an interior design concept that Coco Chanel used in her original salon de couture. But here it was refreshed. "A renovation of the existing spirit for our time," Lagerfeld said.
Renovation wasn't, however, the thrust of the actual collection. It was far less jeune fille than it's been of late. When Jamie Bochert and Stella Tennant stepped out on the catwalk, they looked like substantial women of character. Their clothes had a 1940's line—broad shoulders, swingy coat, cape backs—in a color palette of black, gray, silver, and dusty pink that spoke of film noir interiors. Their hair also had a forties flavor, with a Rosie the Riveter snood. In other words, there was nothing new about this particular vintage. But it worked, in a gutsy, grown-up way. Lagerfeld's portrait of Chanel adorned the invitation and, in keeping with that nod to heritage, the spine of the collection was suits. Except that the classic tweed was actually embroidery on tulle. Thousands of hours of handwork. Couture in excelsis.
Lagerfeld paired the suits with sparkling hose and wove silver through his "tweeds." There was gilding galore. "These clothes are for a world of privileged people," he said, with a hint of resignation (surely not scorn). And it was a wide world of clothes on display: an ethereal gilet spun from what looked like thistledown followed hard and less than coherently on the heels of a tracksuit in dégradé sequins. But that wayward abundance has always been the rule with Lagerfeld's Chanel. And who knows how that tracksuit will look on the block at Sotheby's in 50 years?
SPRING 2013 COUTURE
JANUARY 22, 2013
By Tim Blanks
Karl Lagerfeld can't move mountains just yet. Today, he had to settle for a mere forest, shipped into the Grand Palais tree by tree. His guests wandered through the woods till they happened upon a classical amphitheater. "Neo-classical," Karl clarified. He was dreaming of Weimar, sylvan hub of German Romanticism in the late eighteenth century, home to Goethe and Schiller. Connoisseurs of synchronicity might appreciate the fact that one of Schiller's best-known plays was Mary Stuart. She was the inspiration for the pre-fall spectacle Lagerfeld staged for Chanel in Edinburgh last month.
Only last month? What is this man made of to be able to turn round and produce another, quite distinct collection of equal richness and complexity? The concept of spreading oneself too thin is clearly as alien to Lagerfeld as the notion of gaining one single, solitary kilo. "I always feel I can do better," he said after the show. "The minute you think you did it, you should stop."
And better he did this time—maybe even the best, in a while at least. The romance of Weimar infused a couture collection whose substance was glitter and shine. The daytime tweeds sparkled, the evening looks were a hymn to the sequin. The silhouette was determined by a feature Lagerfeld called "frame shoulders." Sometimes they looked articulated, almost like armor. Other times they were fichu-like. They were intended, the designer explained, to highlight the neck, rising swanlike from the shoulders, like "the cleavage thing from the Second Empire." When he inserted a top in luminous white or silver into his frame shoulders, Lagerfeld got himself a couture reflector. "Shine is beautiful for the summer," he said. "It lights the face."
Weimar was also the birthplace of the Bauhaus, and there was something of that design movement's rigor in long, lean evening columns. Anything that looked like a print was actually embroidery—the man-hours involved in such technical feats clearly involved rigors of another kind.
Beautiful as the collection was—and ending as it did with two brides, the designer's poke at the gay-marriage controversy currently roiling France—its most striking feature was its melancholic mood. This wasn't so much one for the Karlettes, Lagerfeld's coterie of young female fans. "Art de vivre, not joie de vivre, " Lagerfeld agreed. Hair and makeup featured feathery effects, as though the models were birds in the woods, but a Miss Havisham quality crept in toward the end, as the feathers settled over shoulders and trailed behind dresses. "There's nothing more elegant than a certain kind of melancholia," Lagerfeld mused. And surely there is nothing that induces melancholia like the transience of beauty.
Not that Karl would ever allow himself a moment to reflect on such things—or even to savor his triumph. Nope, he was off to the atelier, where he would spend the afternoon fitting his next ready-to-wear collection.
La petite mort
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
La petite mort, French for "the little death", is an idiom and euphemism for orgasm. This term has generally been interpreted to describe the post-orgasmic state of unconsciousness that some people have after having some sexual experiences.
More widely, it can refer to the spiritual release that comes with orgasm or to a short period of melancholy or transcendence as a result of the expenditure of the "life force", the feeling which is caused by the release of oxytocin in the brain after the occurrence of orgasm. Literary critic Roland Barthes spoke of la petite mort as the chief objective of reading literature. He metaphorically used the concept to describe the feeling one should get when experiencing any great literature.
The term "la petite mort" or "the small death" does not always apply to sexual experiences.
Meshell Ndegeocello - La Petit Mort Lyrics
No one seems to understand
I worship the ground you walk on
Let me die, let me die
The small death, while you tell me truth
Who's your daddy
You are, you are,
Who's your daddy now…
Who's your daddy
You are, you are
Who's your daddy now...
I was crowned much too early
Hurt, are you foe or friend?
Baby, arch your back,
and tell me the truth…
Who's your daddy
You are, you are
Who's your daddy now
Who's your daddy
You are, you are
Who's your daddy now
You are, you are
Bridal Piece by Louise Gluck
He planted us by
Water. It was March. The moon
Lurched like searchlights, like
His murmurings across my brain—
He had to have his way. As down
The beach the wet wind
My innocence. I see
My family frozen in the doorway
Now, unchanged, unchanged. Their rice congeals
Around his car. He locked our bedroll
In the trunk for laughs, later, at the deep
End. Rockaway. He reaches for me in his sleep.