Horst is best known for his photographs of women and fashion, but is also recognized for his photographs of interior architecture, still lifes, especially ones including plants, and environmental portraits.
Natividad Abascal y Romero-Toro (formerly, The Duchess of Feria; born 2 April 1943, in Seville, Spain), more commonly known as Nati Abascal, is a Spanish socialite and a former fashion model. She is also a member of the International Best Dressed List since 1984.
Her modeling career started when Spanish fashion designer Elio Berhanyer asked both her and her twin sister Ana Maria to model some of his designs for the International Exhibition in New York in 1964. Richard Avedon photographed them in Ibiza later in 1964 for his 'The Iberians (The Blaze in Spain)' editorial in Harper's Bazaar. By 1965 Abascal was on the cover of this publication in another photograph signed by Avedon. After this, her modeling career took off and she fixed her residence in New York. Among others, she worked for Oscar de la Renta from his very early days- in fact they met while he was still working for Elizabeth Arden- and became great friends, a friendship that lasts to the present day.
Designer Valentino met Abascal in 1968 at a party when she was 25 years old. By then, she had already been working as a model in New York for at least 3 years and had a full-time contract with Ford model agency; years later she would also be employed by Wilhelmina model agency. Valentino brought her to the island of Capri for modeling shoots and, ever since, they've remained close friends.
In 1971 Abascal married Murray Livingston Smith, a Formula One pilot and the Vice-President of an advertising agency. They met at Cartier in NYC and a few months later Smith sent a red Ferrari to her house with a note saying "Marry me". They did but split up in 1975.
In 1971 she also had a short role within Woody Allen's 1971 film "Bananas" as the guerrilla girl Yolanda and in this same year she posed naked for Playboy magazine.
In 1974 she made a 'commercial/happening' for Alka-Seltzer with Salvador Dalí which was seen as "too aggressive" by certain viewers. Dali was shown pretending to stab Naty with some paint brushes, at the same time as he painted her body. The commercial was not particularly successful and was taken back from public view quite quickly.
Towards the end of 1975 she returned to her home in Seville (Spain). She reunited with an ex-boyfriend from her teenage years, Rafael Medina y Fernandez de Cordoba, Duke of Feria and Marquis of Villalba and they married in July 1977 and had two sons: Rafael, born on 25 September 1978, who is the present Duke of Feria, and Luis, born on 30 August 1980.
At the beginning of the 1980s, and well after having left the fashion world, she jumped again on the catwalks for her friend Carolina Herrera's first collection. It would be her last catwalk show. In 1982, several years after having left the fashion world, Norman Parkinson decided to portray her. In 1984 she presented Oscar de la Renta's collection to the Spanish media and in 1987 Lord Snowdon also photographed her in Seville. Naty and Rafael Medina split up in 1989 and divorced in unfriendly terms.
Rafael died on 9 August 2001 after some troublesome last years.
Abascal is known as one of Valentino Garavani's Spanish muses and she's also closely connected to Oscar de la Renta and Carolina Herrera, among other designers. She is still actively working both as a stylist for Hola! magazine and for Mango as a fashion advisor.
In the midst of the recession, designers could actually help their hard-hit businesses by focusing on e-commerce and social network connections, and the ones who did that are looking pretty smart right now. Because there are even more new ideas to try in 2011.
Probably the most important accomplishment for Web-resistant designers was to recognize that their customers talk to one another online; they want girlfriend advice and they want designers to listen. As a result, many more designers this year began using Facebook and Twitter. Customers also want more access to a designer’s world, and they want to be able to do that through their cellphones and tablets. “Chanel launched an app and everyone panicked,” said James Gardner, the co-founder and chief executive of Create The Group, a leading interactive agency. “ ‘Oh, we need an app.’ ”
Well, maybe. Mr. Gardner, whose firm provides digital services for clients like Marc Jacobs, Burberry, Céline and Alexander Wang, said there are several new developments that fashion houses should be considering. The most important is social commerce — selling products through a social network site like Facebook. Experts expect that business to explode. As Sucharita Mulpuru, a vice president and retail analyst for Forrester Research, told Business Week, “It’s not natural to go to Facebook to shop — yet.”
There will be more decentralization as consumers use mobile phones to explore a designer’s site, or shop. Also, Mr. Gardner said, companies should look for more ways to personalize the experience. One way is with customized products, something Nike has already done and which Burberry plans to do with a bespoke service for its iconic trench coat. Want a sleeveless trench coat? No problem.
In 2011, designers will also give more instant access to customers, Mr. Gardner said. This past season, Burberry offered nearly all of its spring 2011 runway show for immediate Web sales. The blunt emphasis on embellished trench coats and leather jackets caused some critics to complain of crass commerce — and obviously there needs to be a balance between commerce and creativity. Still, there are other ways a designer can be inviting; Oscar de la Renta, a client of Mr. Gardner’s, recently created a private access site for sale pieces and exclusive items for clients.
Many fashion houses still lag on the digital front, but if a designer is innovative or exciting on the runway, it seems very odd nowadays not to find the same degree of commitment on the brand’s site. It was no surprise to hear that Phoebe Philo, the designer of Céline, has been involved in new digital projects.
This February, Moda Operandi, an e-commerce site created by Aslaug Magnusdottir and Lauren Santo Domingo, will begin selling runway looks from 40 to 50 designers in New York and Europe. Consumers of high fashion often complain they can’t find the runway styles they love. That’s because designers decide not to produce them or retailers don’t want to risk buying something too crazy or expensive.
Moda Operandi’s plan may satisfy designers and shoppers. A few days after a collection is shown on the runway, members of Moda Operandi will be given a detailed look at the clothes and accessories. Then there will be a flash sale conducted over a period of 36 to 72 hours, with items offered at full retail price. Customers will put down a 50 percent deposit and receive the merchandise about four months later, with the balance due. Between seasons, the site’s partners plan to keep members connected in other ways, like creating virtual closets. They’ve hired Yasmin Sewell, a well-respected retail buyer in London, as fashion director.
Among the designers who have signed up are Calvin Klein, Thakoon, Rochas and Nina Ricci. Ms. Magnusdottir, who previously worked at Gilt Groupe, said membership the first season will be kept small — about 15,000 people, who will have invitation rights. She expects about 100,000 members by the end of 2011.
Kate Ciepluch, the fashion director of Shopbop, likes the idea, provided customers don’t experience a burnout effect from instant shopping. After all, even fashion professionals view runway shows as a source of inspiration, and do their shopping once they know what they want. Still, Ms. Ciepluch said, for some obsessive high-end consumers, getting a great runway look may be all that matters. And for designers, this method could lead to another way to capture customer demand.
Androids, BlackBerrys and iPhones have so many good apps that their owners can fill the tiniest gap of free time with a productive, whimsical or useless activity.
Neuroscientists are debating whether this always-on approach is healthy for one’s brain, but as that argument unfolds, you might as well have a little fun.
Here are my top picks for best time-wasting apps.
Games are a clear favorite for the stranded legions at subway stops and grocery store checkout lines, but this category has a staggering number of choices. Apple’s iTunes Store helps narrow those choices with the Game Center, a selection of around 1,700 highly rated, high-selling apps, including 30 featured titles.
You’ll find the usual suspects, like Angry Birds, Flight Control and Doodle Jump, which are perfect for situations when you have three free minutes. If you already have these games, try Let’s Golf 2 ($5 on iPhone), Blokus ($5 on iPhone) and Tetris ($1), or newer games like Trucks and Skulls ($1), Astronut (free) and Zoo Rescue ($1).
Android users have fewer choices here and elsewhere, because many game developers have only just begun working on this platform. Among other things, developers were losing money on Android users who, until recently, could “test” a game for nearly 23 hours and 59 minutes and then request a refund.
That said, Android has Angry Birds, Let’s Golf 2 and Tetris, which are all solid choices. Glu Mobile, the maker of many popular and free iPhone games, like Gun Bros and Deer Hunter, will introduce some of those games to Android in the coming weeks. Gun Bros is expected to appear this week.
BlackBerry users who are accustomed to second-rate apps have it slightly better when it comes to games. The genre’s most famous mobile games are missing, but thanks chiefly toElectronic Arts, great ones still await, like Need for Speed Shift 3D, Yahtzee, Tetris and Risk. All sold for $1 apiece for iPhone devices last week.
Heavy I.M. users who can’t bear to be away from their instant messaging accounts can continue their conversations on the smartphone with BeejiveIM ($10 on iPhone and BlackBerry devices, $5 on Android). The app offers a seamless experience with all the major desktop or Web-based I.M. systems.
Few things kill time more effectively than Twitter and Facebook, of course. The Twitter app, from the company, is now better than all the other apps that purport to help you follow your feed. It’s free on the iPhone and Android phones. Research In Motion has built a good free version for BlackBerry.
Facebook’s official iPhone and Android apps are also free and highly rated. No official Facebook app yet exists for BlackBerry, however, and the R.I.M. version has earned poor reviews.
For those who believe that Twitter, Facebook and smartphone games will rot your brain — or who simply can’t get past Level 1 of Angry Birds — I.Q. boosters are a good option for killing a few minutes.
Brain Fitness Pro ($4 on iPhone) can be tough — like boot camp for the brain, as one iTunes reviewer characterized it. Through a variety of timed quizzes, it promises to improve your short-term memory and problem-solving ability. Brain Tuner ($3) is featured in Apple’s Game Center; skeptics can try Brain Tuner Lite, which is free.
Brain Genius Deluxe (free on iPhone and Android), from Glu Mobile, is highly rated. Same goes for the BlackBerry app, Brain Up.
For a different sort of brain-building activity, crosswords do nicely. Try the Crosswords app ($10 on iPhone and iPad), or the NYTimes Crosswords (free for first week, then $2 a month or $17 a year). On Android, go with Shortyz Crosswords (free).
Many people have abandoned crosswords for Sudoku. For them, the Sudoku app ($1 on iPhone) from Electronic Arts offers thousands of grids and five difficulty levels. Android users have an even better alternative in Platinum Sudoku ($3) from Gameloft. It includes 640,000 grids, five difficulty levels and automatic error checking.
Because we’re talking about processing bite-size pieces of information, poetry deserves a mention. And while a grocery store checkout line may not seem an obvious place to consume poetry, the Poetry app (free on iPhone), from the Poetry Foundation, makes it easy to quickly discover new poems and writers. You can mark your favorite works for future exploration, too.
Sometimes I like to be productive in those odd minutes, rather than waste time. In those instances, I’ll sometimes open my SoundHound and Shazam apps — but not to identify music. Rather, I’ll buy some of the songs I’ve identified with the apps in recent weeks, and which these apps keep in neat lists.
If I have the children along for errands, however, I can forget both productivity and mobile gaming. Few sights are as sad as a child watching a parent who is lost in a video game.
Storykit is a free iPhone app parents can use to quickly build picture books with children, using on-the-spot photos or old-school tales that are ripe for rewriting.
For parents of middle-school children, BrainPOP is a worthy app, featuring a new brief educational cartoon every day. The cartoon is followed by a quick quiz that will at times challenge even a grown-up.
Finally, one of the best things you can do as you wait in line is go to the App Store and peruse all the updates to the apps you already own. Some of the updates are important, others merely incremental. (Hint: if the version number is 1.5 or 2.0, it’s more important than 188.8.131.52.)
With big updates, it’s almost as if someone has given you a new app. Take a few minutes, download the important ones and take them for a test spin. Angry Birds can wait until your next set of errands.
Grown-ups love popup books, and children love to tear them apart to see how they work. With the Three Little Pigs and the Secrets of a Popup Book app for the iPad ($7 ), when you touch a button you see the book’s mechanical guts. One caveat for parents of younger children: it’s a slightly harsh version of the tale. A sweeter, but less visually enthralling, alternative is the new Thomas the Train interactive iPad book, Thomas & Friends: Misty Island Rescue ($5).
ON a chilly morning in Beijing earlier this month, the American fashion designer Diane Von Furstenberg was getting theatrical in the conference room of an art gallery in the city’s 798 Arts District. She was dressed elegantly in a black-and-white checked top, wool riding pants and high-heeled pumps.
With a video camera recording the session, Ms. Von Furstenberg and eight associates made preparations for a coming retrospective in Beijing, “Journey of a Dress.” It chronicles her life in fashion, beginning in the 1970s, when the simple wrap dress she designed created a sensation.
Hanging on the wall behind her was a cowhide imprinted with a reverential image of Chairman Mao — a new work by the Chinese artist Zhang Huan. “So you walk in, and here you have the gates,” Ms. Von Furstenberg said as she pointed to a diagram of the exhibition space. “There are four partitions here. When you walk in — it’s fashion, fashion, fashion, fashion.”
Then she paced the room and demanded feedback. She tapped on her iPhone to retrieve notes, tossed out ideas about how the show would unfold and promised to bring “everyone” to the opening. She even mused aloud about throwing an outrageous “Red Ball” — an evening gala that would dazzle the Chinese.
Her husband, the media tycoon Barry Diller, would come, along with “lots of celebrities,” she said. Wendi Murdoch, the wife of the media magnate Rupert Murdoch, might host a private party at the Murdochs’ courtyard home in Beijing. The New York artist Chuck Close could make the trip. And getting around China won’t be a problem, she said at one point, because “we’ll have Barry’s jet.”
Someone at the conference table shouted, “Every artist in China will come!”
“Journey of a Dress” had its first showing in Moscow a year ago, at the Manezh Central Exhibition Hall in Red Square. Earlier this year, it traveled to São Paolo. The exhibition features sketches, designs and the trademark prints that Ms. Von Furstenberg produced over four decades, as well as original portraits of her created by friends and admirers likeAndy Warhol, Francesco Clemente and Francesco Scavullo.
When the show comes to Beijing in April, it will open in a renovated factory that New York’s Pace Gallery created in the 798 District. To give the show a local flavor, Pace has asked some of China’s leading artists to create their own portraits of the 63-year-old fashion diva.
This is all part of what Diane Von Furstenberg acknowledges is her second act. Since 1998, when she resurrected her DVF brand and breathed new life into it, she’s been trying to reinvent herself as a designer, philanthropist and globe-trotting fashion mogul.
Today, there are roughly three dozen DVF boutiques worldwide, and she’s extending her reach into China, with shops in Beijing and Shanghai. Her 1998 autobiography, “Diane: A Signature Life,” is being translated into Chinese by her close friend Hong Huang, who’s been dubbed China’s Oprah. She’s even contemplating studying Mandarin.
“I woke up in January of this year,” she said, “and my New Year’s resolution was to get known in China.”
China is, after all, the world’s fastest-growing market for fashion and luxury goods — a nation where the Cult of Mao is quickly being supplanted by that of Louis Vuitton, Gucci and Armani.
And the ruling Communist Party doesn’t seem to mind. Fendi transformed the Great Wall into a catwalk; Chanel and Dior have held fashion shows using Shanghai’s historic riverfront area as a backdrop. And next month, Prada’s owner and chief designer, Miuccia Prada, will direct her first fashion show outside Europe — here in Beijing, with designs made specifically for China on a runway built on the campus of the nation’s top arts school, the Central Academy of Fine Arts.
No wonder Anna Wintour, the editor in chief of American Vogue, made her first visit to China a few weeks ago.
“This is about business,” said Angelica Cheung, the editor in chief of Vogue China. “For a lot of big brands, China has become the No. 1, No. 2 or No. 3 market.”
Ms. Von Furstenberg isn’t about to miss the Next Big Thing. She graced the cover of Newsweek in the 1970s. She was part of the Studio 54 crowd when disco was in style. And she sold dresses on QVC, the home shopping network, when retailing first migrated to live television. Now, her brand is migrating to the most populous place on earth.
“First of all, I love China,” she said while nibbling on a pizza during lunch at a boutique hotel here called Yi House. “I came for the first time in 1990. And I’ve always had this fantasy. I’d like to sell every Chinese a T-shirt.”
At lunch, she was joined by Ms. Hong, Ms. Hong’s literary agent, as well as Arne Glimcher, the founder of Pace Gallery, and Ms. Von Furstenberg’s partners in Asia, David and Linda Ting. The talk ranged from Ms. Von Furstenberg’s nasty bout of food poisoning earlier in the week (“I was on the floor of the bathroom!”) to Ms. Hong’s late mother (who was Mao’s English teacher) and where to hold the Red Ball (“How about the Water Cube?” she laughed, referring to the aquatic center built for the 2008 Olympic games).
She also talked how about how “Journey of a Dress” started with the idea of holding a fashion show in Russia and evolved into an art show about her career. Her friend, the designer Bill Katz later suggested they do it in China.
“He’s the consigliere of contemporary art,” she said of Mr. Katz, picking at her pizza. “Twombly. Jasper Johns. They wouldn’t move anything without him. We did São Paolo this year, and then Bill said Pace is the best gallery.”
Mr. Glimcher said, “We’ve been friends for 40 years.”
Pace has moved aggressively into China, opening a huge space here two years ago and signing up some of the biggest names in Chinese contemporary art, like Hai Bo, Li Songsong, Zhang Xiaogang and Zhang Huan, whom Mr. Glimcher said has the versatility of Rauschenberg. Several Chinese artists agreed to contribute works to Ms. Von Furstenberg’s show, and she sat for portraits and e-mailed them images from which to work.
Early that day, during what was a weeklong trip to China, she visited Mr. Li’s studio and marveled at how he transforms thick gobs of paint into imaginative art pieces. Then, after lunch, she traveled 45 minutes outside central Beijing to visit the studio of Hai Bo, whose stark photographs of peasants and rural landscapes hint at the world that just disappeared. He unwrapped the black-and-white photo he took of her earlier this year and left her almost speechless.
“I didn’t realize I’m so intense,” she said. “But I love it.” She then gave Mr. Hai’s wife a DVF scarf and a CD of music she had sponsored for a charity and invited the couple to visit her studio in New York next month, when Mr. Hai’s solo exhibition opens at Pace/MacGill gallery in New York.
“I’m going to make you a dress for the opening,” she promised his wife. “You’re going to be beautiful.”
An hour later, after fighting Beijing’s notorious traffic, she stumbled into the opening of Zhang Xiaogang’s solo exhibition at the colossal Today Art Museum. Before she could admire his works, she was cornered by a camera crew for a local show called “Vogue TV.” She fluffed her reddish-brown hair and offered a few sound bites.
A day later, she flew to China’s fashion capital, Shanghai.
She was astonished, she said, at how fashionable people were. “I come here every three months, and it’s amazing how much more sophisticated the people are looking on the streets.”
But perhaps nothing was as startling as her visit to the studio of Zhang Huan, a former performance artist who some years ago dressed himself in a suit made of slabs of carefully sculptured beef and paraded through the streets of New York City like Mr. America.
Mr. Zhang’s vast studio — a series of converted factories in the Shanghai suburbs — operates with about 100 workers who sand, carve and sculpture. They paint by sprinkling ashes onto a canvas and, following Mr. Zhang’s ideas, they stitch together giant dolls made from animal hides.
Mr. Zhang offered Ms. Von Furstenberg a tour of the construction site for his new French restaurant, which he said would be outfitted with huge tanks of seawater and live sharks.
Ms. Von Furstenberg was sold.
“I’m thinking, why not do the party here?” she said with delight. “This is going to be fabulous.”
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