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creative direction SHINI PARK photography assistance SIMON SCHMIDT in collaboration with ALAÏA Paris

I had a friend in high school, with square specs and matte brown hair… Dana, I think her name was, straight B student. Every Wednesday, she’d saunter up to Mr Chanen and declare that her assignment is not ready due to ‘writer’s block’. “Yeah, you need to be a writer to have a writer’s block, Dana”, he’d sleepily reply, and for a full semester I’d nurse a crush on the man who’d crushed the annoying girl with the BS excuse. Years later, I sit at my office desk – once a barn door on eBay – pecking a string of words into a blank Word document and deleting it… then writing it again, maybe this time in a different tense, for four full hours.

“You need to be a writer to have a writer’s block, Shini.”

A white canvas, is altogether a liberating and terrifying surface, one that selflessly yields to the artist, the audience, and art itself, yet is highly charged with almost a tangible judgement in its glow. It’s a bit of an asshole colour, when you think about it. Even a crisp white shirt – allegedly the basis of any wardrobe, is ever more a canvas to which flying foods and bicycle grease are attracted. Considering this, Azzedine Alaïa is the master of white.

Dress – Azzedine Alaïa

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I dreamed of it like an archeologist dreams of sculptures from antiquity lying at the bottom of the sea for millennia, sculptures of perfect bodies, matched only by the women of today – an ideal and timeless beauty.
- Azzedine Alaïa

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“White acts on our soul just like silence, just like nothingness, before any beginning.” Vassily Kandinsky

For Mr Alaïa, white remains a concept referring to light, architecture and rigour. Over decades he would perfect architectural precision* and celebrate the unconditional beauty of the female body, which is his canvas, his white. Just as an Olympian god would fashion a muse out of clay, he would circle his sculpture with his tools of precision (rulers, triangles, pencils…), and base inspiration only on admiration or gratitude for the heroine: active, feminine, exultant and self-confident – goddess of modern times.

The new Alaïa Paris Eau de parfum Blanche, continues this narrative headed by an almond note, followed by the powdery whiff of heliotrope and rounded off with a wealth of vanilla and musk. The bottle: completely transparent, a sensual counterpart to Alaïa Paris Eau de parfum that dons a completely opaque design.
The very notes of Alaïa Paris Eau de parfum Blanche inspire this series of images, shot on a deserted beach on the Scilly isles, the stone under my bare feet powdery with the day’s sand in the wind. The sun hung low, still warm, cloaking the beach like soft fabric. Perhaps Dana and I had it all wrong. To defeat the white one must assume the role of white.


*Those (living under a rock) unfamiliar with the name** may recognise this symbolic laser-cut leather.


**Or “You don’t understand, this is an Alaïa” as Cher Horowitz would wistfully whine on Clueless (1995)

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art & creative direction SHINI PARK
assistant photographer SIMON SCHMIDT created for Calvin Klein Swimwear

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Bruise and Baywatch: Calvin Klein fiery red Intense Power one-piece swimsuit

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Doubles as a top, should the waters be too cold: Calvin Klein cropped rash vest

Unmoored by the particulars of who and what might be watching you on a deserted beach at sunset, in Calvin Klein‘s one must dance, if not make sand angels on a particularly powdery part of the beach. This is my swimwear edit: a tinge of Baywatch (for mouth-to-mouth is always the objective), and multi-purpose swim garbs, as per. Crop tops and high-rises, might as well be John McClane. Also – just in time for sale season. Yipee-ki-yay, kids.

Swimsuit – Calvin Klein.

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Warning: May be mistaken for lifeguard:Calvin Klein fiery red Intense Power one-piece swimsuit
Peel each layer with gusto (is it a bikini set or a one-piece?): Calvin Klein Halterneck Swimsuit
Sunglasses – Rejina Pyo

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Trousers so high they fasten at the neck. Best with crop-top rashers: Calvin Klein High Rise Khaki trousers + Calvin Klein cropped rash vest
Top – . Skirt – Loewe. Heels – Manolo Blahnik. Bag – Celine.

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in conversation with Bentley

‘Verified’. It’s an open secret that anyone with even a dab of digital presence will have looked up on Google, nay, will have asked various forums and perhaps even inappropriately prodded a vague contact at Instagram (sister of a friend of a friend) how one attains a ‘verified’ status on the platform. The famous blue badge that denotes legitimacy of an account, and all at the same time trivialises the collective effort of the ‘unbadged’ rest. For my journalist friends, it’s Twitter; for my golden-locked and Gucci-clad acquaintances, Instagram, or even Youtube.

I too, can confess to having spent three quarters of a weekend hour (i,e thing of gold) trying to suss the system out… digging around for perhaps a painful W8-BEN type form hidden in the nooks of the settings page, or some fiery hoops to jump through. I figured, nearly ten years in this game, I could flirt with the idea of ‘going legit’. Only, I found out too soon (and suspiciously easily), that there was no system as such. This baffled me. One girl reportedly reported a FB employee who had sold their anointing power to a slew of influencers, and as a thank you for they awarded her said badge. The rest of the advice was ‘amass a huge following’.

Okay.

Developed by the Mulliner Special Commissioning Unit, with only 50 cars produced, the Bentley Mulsanne Hallmark Series is a stamp of authenticity, and veracity.

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This got me thinking, given the various ambiguous methods of displaying self/career-worth available, and the seemingly unfulfilling tokens in place, what is it that truly verifies one’s authenticity and credibility? What was my hallmark?

Thankfully, the brands I choose to work with are great teachers in demonstrating exactly this — namely Bentley, and the Mulsanne Hallmark Series: a limited edition by Mulliner released at the Geneva Motorshow, which celebrates the marriage of unparalleled technology and craftsmanship. Only 50 units available in Gold and Silver, symbolic of its inspiration – precious metals which are authenticated by a hallmark, or stamps, validating their worth. No absurd grading system, simply the excellence in product. And the notion that, your true hallmark is purely your own passion and effort, even if there is no blue badge to say so.

Discover the full prestige of the series at Bentley Mulsanne Hallmark Series

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…the notion that, your true hallmark is purely your own passion and effort, even if there is no blue badge to say so.

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Top & trousers – Jacqumus. Belt – Loewe.

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