The Met Gala Returns With a Spotlight on American Fashion, and Other News

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Kim Kardashian wearing Balenciaga at the 2021 Met Gala. Photography by Theo Wargo/Getty Images

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The Met Gala kicks off under the loaded theme of “American Independence.”

Switching out its traditional red carpet for a cream counterpart, the Met Gala returns after sequential postponements due to the pandemic. The ultra-exclusive event celebrated the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s new exhibition, titled “In America: A Lexicon of Fashion,” as pop culture’s most decorated figures adorned the museum’s entrance dressed in designers ranging from the late Oscar de la Renta to the luxury giants Yves Saint Laurent, Prada, and Balenciaga. Long-standing gala chair and Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour is accompanied by co-chairs Timothée Chalamet, Amanda Gorman, and Billie Eilish to inaugurate this season with other A-list celebrity guests in attendance. Representing beauty, social injustice, and other attributes of the red, white, and blue through fashion, Wintour reflects on the evolution of American fashion and describes it as “a patchwork, reflecting the world we’re all living in, as seen through many different lenses.”

Climate change may mean that the “whole paradigm has to change” for skyscrapers.

As America mourned the 20th anniversary of 9/11 this past weekend, a conversation about skyscraper design and its environmental impact since the event has become louder. The consensus: we need to drastically reimagine our commercial towers. “I think environment and health are two fundamental things, above security, that challenge us all in the industry of the paradigm of the skyscraper,” said Gary Kamemoto, principal at Maki and Associates, which designed the 4 World Trade Center skyscraper.

La Fabrica rendering by Foster + Partners

La Fabrica, a former Santiago textile factory, is slated for a revamp by Foster+Partners. 

The mid-century structure had a past duality of housing employees and work stations and its ensuing renovation focuses on a multi-use scheme geared toward community engagement through updated programmes pertaining to retail and multi-use employment. In order to make the site more robust, the architecture firm details the developments of a low-rise residential block on the adjacent site. As its maiden project in Chile, Foster + Partners plans to harness the nation’s traditional timber construction techniques using sustainably sourced wood. “La Fabrica offers an incredible opportunity to interweave the industrial heritage of the city with the urgent present need to establish a sustainable model of development,” says David Summerfield, the Head of Studio at Foster + Partners.

To steer climate change, New York passes a bill that monitors the use of concrete. 

As one of the fundamental elements of construction, concrete is also a heavyweight pollutant as it amounts to approximately eight percent of global carbon emissions. A bill by the New York State legislature, titled Low Embodied Carbon Concrete Leadership Act (LECCLA), provides the groundwork for the state to declare carbon emission levels and help clean up their environmental footprint. Its application, however, is deterred as bureaucratic processes stripped away its initial strength that would have spurred a bid incentive for the state to pay contractors up to five percent more if they are utilising more eco-friendly systems. The final bill requires the state committee to consider a mix of bid incentives and carbon-emission standards, yet the threat of greenwashing in the engineering area remains ever-present.

Cao Fei, Asia One, 2018. Video, 63’20”. Courtesy the artist, Vitamin Creative Space, and Sprüth Magers.

The technology-minded artist Cao Fei wins the prestigious Deutsche Börse Prize.

Cao Fei’s work across film, photography, and digital media often explores society’s obsession with technology and tackles apocalyptic themes with surrealism and deadpan humor. She has been named the recipient of this year’s prestigious Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation prize for her recent show “Blueprints,” at Serpentine Galleries. “She captures the particular isolation and alienation experienced in our increasingly digital age through a distinctive and seductive visual language that speaks both through and about images and their place in the world today,” Anna-Marie Beckmann, director of the foundation, said in a statement. Her work will display at the Photographer’s Gallery in London alongside three shortlisted artists—Poulomi Basu, Alejandro Cartagena, and Zineb Sedira—through September 26. 

Balenciaga’s $1,200 “sagging” sweatpants have been called out for appropriation.

One of the luxury fashion house’s releases at New York Fashion Week has set the internet ablaze with charges of exploiting a look historically associated with racism. The grey fleece sweats feature an exposed boxer short sewn-in above the elastic waistband—a recreation of the 90s “sagging” look popularized by Black men that several American counties made illegal.  (For instance, in Shreveport, Louisiana, Black men made up 96 percent of the “saggy pants ban” arrests.) Balenciaga has declined to comment thus far. 

Wallpaper by Laura Owens at Fondation Vincent Van Gogh Arles

Today’s attractive distractions:

Taco Bell is asking customers to mail back used hot sauce packets for recycling.

Laura Owens covers the walls of a Vincent Van Gogh exhibition in vivid wallpaper.

Doja Cat’s outlandish costume at the VMAs drew a number of wild comparisons.

A guerrilla artist is transforming Houston’s infrastructure with playful interventions.

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