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A Rendezvous with Carla


What can be said about Carla Bruni that hasn’t already been put to paper? The Italian-born epitome of elegance is a woman of many facets – international supermodel, acclaimed singer, wife of former French president Nicolas Sarkozy and, recently, respected philanthropist. During our talk in her recording studio, I encounter several members of Carla’s family: her five-year-old daughter Giulia [when she enters the room, her mother rushes toward her, speaking in Italian: “Chichina, amore della mamma, bella, vieni qui! Vieni qui subito!”], her beloved little dog and, of course, the ex-president. In this exclusive interview, she candidly reveals her thoughts on the power of art and education, her insights into the fashion world and some unrevealed details about her upcoming album

A Rendezvous with Carla


What can be said about Carla Bruni that hasn’t already been put to paper? The Italian-born epitome of elegance is a woman of many facets – international supermodel, acclaimed singer, wife of former French president Nicolas Sarkozy and, recently, respected philanthropist. During our talk in her recording studio, I encounter several members of Carla’s family: her five-year-old daughter Giulia [when she enters the room, her mother rushes toward her, speaking in Italian: “Chichina, amore della mamma, bella, vieni qui! Vieni qui subito!”], her beloved little dog and, of course, the ex-president. In this exclusive interview, she candidly reveals her thoughts on the power of art and education, her insights into the fashion world and some unrevealed details about her upcoming album

People > LP Exclusive


 

A Rendezvous with Carla

February 24, 2017 / by Arthur Dreyfus

Thank you for welcoming China Daily Lifestyle Premium. First, I’d like to discuss the Fondation Carla Bruni Sarkozy, which you created a few years ago.

The idea came from a desire to help others. My husband was the French president at the time and I discovered many issues that I didn’t know many people had. So I tried to help in my own way with a foundation that would focus on culture and education. We did quite a lot of work in those five or six years – and a little less now, because it’s not easy to raise funds. It’s a full-time job.

You’ve said helping impoverished students meet artists wasn’t only about entertaining, but also about giving them a sense of dignity. Could you expound on that?

Art, creation, music – every sort of art – gives children a different perspective on things. We’ve discovered that little children with talent in music gain confidence and self-esteem as soon as they get opportunities to learn and practice. Through an instrument, they become “someone” in the eyes of their parents, of society. It’s not just about music, either. With artistic improvement, they get better at mathematics, writing, everything – as if music gave them wings.

So it comes from self-esteem?

Mostly – and from believing in something, from having something in your life that matters more than anything else. Art gives you that.

 

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Your foundation has worked in prisons, hospitals, and houses for the homeless and the elderly. Have you visited those places?

Yes, I’ve been there almost every time we have given concerts there. It has been incredibly successful. We gather the very best artists and, for the people who aren’t able to move, we also play music in their hospital rooms.

Music as medicine…

I’d like to think so. Music is not a primary need – it’s obviously not like food or water – but it changes something in the air. It conveys instant pleasure and it creates bonds.

Back to your foundation, it also deals with the issues surrounding illiteracy. For many people, not being able to read is a shameful thing that they often keep secret.

There are three million people who suffer from illiteracy in France. Those people are not – as many would reckon – immigrants or people in the streets. In fact, most of them have jobs. When you can’t read, can’t drive, can’t go to the post office or talk with the staff, you’re disabled. So it is often kept secret and they do feel ashamed. But they’re intelligent people. They just “missed the train” when they were young, because no one helped them. Through my foundation, I’ve been working closely with the associations that deal with this prominent issue. A few years later, illiteracy became a “national cause” – and I’m proud of that.

You’ve described education as the “indispensable superfluous” – could you explain that?

I used the word “superfluous” because we don’t think of education as something to live or to die for, but it’s indispensable because without it, we’re animals.

You were raised in a very artistic family. Do you consider that life has been generous from the start and is that why you wanted to give something back with this foundation?

Oh yes, very much. I’ve been quite lucky. It’s a very good experience to give things away – to give time, money if you can, to people in need. Even in a selfish way, it’s a great satisfaction.

The couturier Jean-Paul Gaultier is an executive member of the foundation. What does he bring to it?

He brought so much. He helped us with the scholarships for fashion and he didn’t only bring ideas – he was present all the time to talk and meet with students.

Gaultier famously said, “Modelling is the only activity where men are paid less than women.” Did you become a model because it was the only job where you would make more money than a man?

[laughs] Not really! But I noticed that when I was modelling, that statement is true. It’s also because the cosmetics or jewellery markets are much smaller for men than they have been for women. The trend of sophistication for men is quite recent, commercially speaking.

When and why did you become an artist? Was it because of your mother, who was a pianist?

Music was surely familiar to me – my father also loved it – and both of my parents were very encouraging. I don’t remember when it started, but I’ve always been creating; as I child, I would always write little songs. But until much later, I didn’t dare to think of myself as an artist, though I was singing, writing and performing for my friends on a daily basis. I just didn’t think something so pleasant could become a job, you know.

Why did you decide to become a singer?

I needed someone to sing my songs. At the beginning, I thought that I would write music for other people, but I quickly understood that I was the only one who could sing my lyrics – they were too personal.

Have you kept those first songs you’ve written?

Yes – I even recorded some of them.

What were they about?

Always the same… Love, loss – and lust. [smiles mischievously]

Your first album sold two million copies in France alone and received numerous awards worldwide. Did you ever imagine you would find such tremendous success with just your voice and a guitar?

I could never have imagined it. I was hoping that people would appreciate it, but I had incredible luck. Great success is always a matter of good timing – and luck.

And talent.

And luck. [smiles humbly]

When you’re not playing music or spending time with your family, what do you do at home? 

I love gardening. I don’t know if I have a “green thumb”, as they say, but I get a lot of pleasure in taking care of my plants and flowers. A neat garden is like a little slice of paradise. I also like the fact that gardening is a mix of savoir faire, talent, timing and luck – a bit like making an album!

I’d like to turn to Asia, particularly China and Hong Kong. What do you know about this part of the world?

I know too little, regretfully. Regarding China, I’ve only been there twice. My first journey was an official state visit with my husband in 2011 – it was incredible. We didn’t have much time, but we had the chance to discover very special parts of the Great Wall, wander through the Forbidden City… it was a fantastic trip, four magical days from Beijing to Shanghai. And as a model in the late ’90s, I travelled to Hong Kong, an incredible city that astonished me from the very first moment. Oh, I forgot to mention, I also love Chinese food.

A lot of people in Europe fear China as a threat to the Western world. What are your thoughts? Do you fear China?

No, but I can feel the power of this country and its clout, as well as the beauty of their youth. I’ve seen incredibly beautiful women in China and Hong Kong. Men also, in their twenties, who are astonishingly beautiful. When I was working for Bulgari, I met some
of the most amazingly flawless Chinese models. That was when I realised another type of skin could wear jewellery even better than dark skin, which showcases jewellery perfectly. Chinese skin is absolutely incredible, especially for jewellery, because it has something blue – so pale, so transparent. And their hair, their necks... it can be so sensual. Asian women could be the most beautiful in the world… the men also, but their refinement, their grace and their finesse has something feminine to me.

In your private life, do you wear a lot of jewellery?

Surprisingly, not very often. Except for grand occasions, I almost never wear jewels. Really, I’m not very concerned about my outfits or my appearance. Some women – and men – are obsessed with that, but I’m not.

Do you hope that in the future, clothing will be less gender-marked?

Yes. Indeed, men already wear dresses. It doesn’t suit them all, but the first Jean-Paul Gaultier couture show had men wearing dresses and skirts, and with make-up – that was amazing. Nowadays, the “official” masculine apparel is often dull and boring when compared to its feminine counterpart. I wish men could allow themselves more extravagancy in the way the dress without being considered punks.

If you had to live on a desert island for one year with three fashion designers, alive or dead, who would you choose?

[laughs] What a question! Okay… 

I would pick Jean-Paul Gaultier, Azzedine Alaïa – and then I have a real problem between choosing Yves Saint Laurent, John Galliano or Karl Lagerfeld. I have to think carefully – can you imagine Karl, for a whole year, on a desert island? [bursts out laughing] It could be seriously difficult. I can’t only take into consideration the talent of the designer; I also have to think about the personality. So I would choose Saint Laurent, for whom I had the greatest tenderness and respect. He was such a gentle person. I love Karl, but he has a completely different energy.

On this island, if you had to take one garment only, what would it be?

Trousers. I like dresses, but I’m sensitive to the cold. So trousers would be the safe choice, unless the island is located in a very warm place.

Let’s leave fashion and the island. Someday, would you like to sing in Hong Kong and in Mainland China?

Very much – and all around China. It would be my greatest pleasure to share my vision of French music with the public.

Speaking about music, I’d like to carry on with an artistic “Proust questionnaire”. What albums did you listen to most this year?

I would say a mix of old and new. I have a permanent base of Barbara [Streisand], [Serge] Gainsbourg, Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen – I bought a vinyl record of Cohen just a few days ago. But regarding the younger ones, I love this French girl named Christine and the Queens – she’s so peculiar. I’ve also listened a lot to Tom Waits. And Antony and the Johnsons – he’s celestial and seems to come from another planet.

What’s your favourite pop song of all time?

Maybe “God Only Knows” by the Beach Boys. A true masterpiece – even if that’s not an original answer.

For which musical artists do you have the greatest respect?

Barbara [Streisand], surely, but also Billie Holiday, Patti Smith, Serge Gainsbourg – I also love the French singer George Brassens. And of course, I forgot The Beatles, who remain so essential to me. And the Beach Boys, and the [Rolling] Stones, and The Clash. In the ’80s, I had a real crush on this band. Let me share a secret with you – I’ve done a cover of The Clash on my next album…

Wow, sounds great! Past music, let’s turn to literature. What are you reading these days?

I’ve been reading a very nice book that was given to me by a friend. It’s a sort of philosophical biography of [Michel de] Montaigne, written by a woman named Sarah Bakewell. It’s lovely and really interesting. I also enjoy my friend Michel Houellebecq a lot. I sang one of his poems, La possibilité d’une île, on my album Comme si de rien n’était.

What’s your favourite book of all time?

I would say Proust’s In Search of Lost Time.

Do you think that literature also exists in music? Was it a good idea to give the Nobel Prize to Bob Dylan?

Absolutely. Poetry is in songs – and poetry is a part of literature. Actually, some literature is only made of poetry: think James Joyce. Besides, when I read a book, I mostly hear the music of words, almost more than the story they tell.

Who are your favourite living contemporary artists?

Pierre Soulages, genius painter of the black colour. He’s also one of the most interesting people I’ve met – one of the last magical artists. I also like the French painter Gérard Garouste very much. But if I had the right to mention dead artists, I would choose Picasso. Recently, I saw the exhibition Icons of Modern Art at the Fondation Louis Vuitton in Paris. It pays tribute to one of the greatest art patrons of the early 20th century, Sergei Shchukin, a visionary Russian collector of French modern art. Oh my god, what a collection, so astonishingly beautiful, what taste! One of the greatest painting exhibitions I’ve ever seen. And I was lucky enough to take advantage of a private tour offered by Bernard Arnault – even better!

I’d like to talk about your coming fifth album. Could you give us some exclusive details?

With pleasure. I’m currently finishing it – it will be a covers album, all in English, covers of songs I’ve loved for a long time, that I carry in my heart. The instrumentation will be quite simple – just a guitar and a piano. The producer of the album is David Foster, who also produced the Bee Gees, Mariah Carey, Céline Dion, Michael Jackson… We had so much fun together.

When did you record it?

We did two recording sessions in 2015 and 2016, in Paris and Los Angeles, where I had met Foster. This album came together spontaneously. 

Could you disclose some of the covers you’ll sing?

[hesitates and smiles] I’d prefer to keep it a surprise…

Please… just the name of some of the artists!

Hmm, okay… I’ve already told you The Clash… Let’s say I also chose Lou Reed and Willie Nelson.

We’re looking forward to hearing it. Perhaps next time China Daily Lifestyle Premium interviews you, it will be after a great concert in Hong Kong.

I hope so – I’m sure it will happen! [laughs]

Images: Gilles Bensimon/Paris Match/Getty Images

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Electric Eclectic


World-renowned jazz pianist Chick Corea brings his Elektric Band to South Korea, Japan and Hong Kong in March – its first Asian tour in 12 years. In this exclusive interview ahead of his March 22 concert in Hong Kong, the 22-time Grammy winner discusses the driving forces that have made him one of the most influential jazz figures of the past 50 years and gives us a taste of what’s yet to come

Electric Eclectic


World-renowned jazz pianist Chick Corea brings his Elektric Band to South Korea, Japan and Hong Kong in March – its first Asian tour in 12 years. In this exclusive interview ahead of his March 22 concert in Hong Kong, the 22-time Grammy winner discusses the driving forces that have made him one of the most influential jazz figures of the past 50 years and gives us a taste of what’s yet to come

People > LP Exclusive


 

Electric Eclectic

February 24, 2017 / by Shaun Kent

You’ve described the Elektric Band’s Asian tour as both a reunion and a “creation”. What makes this band so special?

The five of us have had a lot of shared, beautiful experiences through all the tours and recordings we made. It made us a real, true group and it’s always a joy to create together. This particular group has survived longer than any other band I’ve had.

You just turned 75 and celebrated with a series of concerts in New York. You’ve been innovating and seeking new musical horizons for almost 50 years. Where does the endless creativity come from? 

Well, the urge to want to create and make music is a very subtle but powerful thing – and difficult to describe. Ultimately, the source of any creativity is oneself. I have always tried to pursue the musical projects that hold real interest to me and pursue them against all odds. It’s a wonderful challenge and makes life a real adventure.

You started playing at a very young age – can you remember your initial feelings when you discovered music and can you explain what it has brought to your life over the years?

I never gave it a second thought. It’s always been my main interest. I do love the other art forms – they all take persistence and dedication to become good at – well, anything does. But yes, it was always music.

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Could you explain how important classical music was to your musical development, and in what way it has influenced your jazz composition and playing?

At a young age, I was pretty mono-focused on jazz – I hardly listened to any other kind of music. But midway through high school, I discovered the music of Béla Bartók and Igor Stravinsky. That began my intense interest in composition and what one can do with the writing of music applied to various instrumentations. We had such a great tradition of composition in classical music over these past three or four centuries. We’re a culture rich in art.

How would you define improvisation and can you explain your approach to it?

I believe trying to define improvisation tends to be a losing battle; it’s like trying to define “creativity”. The best answer is the demonstration of it – and we can observe this in our great artists.

What’s the key to great musical collaboration, both in the studio and in concert?

Well, I don’t think there’s any one “key”. It’s really a combination of a lot of things based on admiration and a mutual desire to share one another’s art. 

You played with Miles Davis on Filles de Kilimanjaro, In a Silent Way and Bitches Brew, as well as several live albums – collaborations that really changed the direction of music. Can you describe what was it like to be a part of that creative process? 

When I worked with Miles Davis, as when I work on all my projects, it all went very friendly and easy and spontaneous. Mutual respect is one of the things that pervades these atmospheres of music-making. We enjoy one another’s ideas. True collaboration is not a competition – it’s more like a co-creation.

It’s been almost 50 years since your work with Miles Davis led the way to jazz-rock fusion and such bands as your own Chick Corea and Return to Forever, the Mahavishnu Orchestra, the Tony Williams Lifetime and Weather Report. What would you say was the lasting musical impact of that era?

I like to leave questions like that up to the musical historians. I grew up musically in the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s. These were certainly exciting times, creatively. But it’s all in how you look at life. I’m as excited now about playing music as I ever was – maybe more so.

Your website is very focused on sharing your musical experiences and passing along your knowledge and expertise. From your interactions with younger musicians, where do you see jazz headed in the future? Are there any emerging trends we should be looking out for?

Our planet is filled with art and artists. One has to learn how to look to see what’s there. Our means of communication through the internet can be helpful, but also can cloud one’s view. Travelling, meeting musicians and looking for art in different places around the world is the best way to find out what’s really going on. I feel fortunate to be able to travel a lot, and to get to meet and hear and see a lot of different artists. And believe me, the world is rich in jazz and all kinds of art. We have to learn how to find it, support it and keep creating it ourselves.

What future recordings or other projects do you have planned – and are there musical avenues you still wish to explore?

Oh, there are so many. I’m touring a lot with the new Elektric Band this year and also about to make a new recording with my old friend Steve Gadd – a brand new band with brand new music. I have an experimental electronica project almost finished, and I’m planning to play my piano concerto and other symphonic works in 2018. 

But the most exciting new venture for me is my Chick Corea Music Workshops. I’m creating video presentations of workshops for musicians and people interested in music and art of all ages – for both professionals and beginners. It’s a way for me to help increase the interest in music and art. I find that when people become interested in creating music and art, their areas of life become healthier, calmer and more pleasant. Music and all art is something natural and native to every human being – the desire to create something beautiful. My workshops help others to create – and I love helping musicians and anyone interested in music.

The Chick Corea Elektric Band plays on March 22 at 8pm at Academic Community Hall, Hong Kong Baptist University, 224 Waterloo Road, Kowloon Tong. Tickets are available via cityline.com

Image: Peter Van Breukelen/Getty Images

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A Year and A Day with Dylan


Photographer Daniel Kramer had unique access to Bob Dylan at the height of the musician's creative powers in 1964 and 1965, and shot the covers of the groundbreaking albums Bringing it All Back Home and Highway 61 Revisited. Almost 200 of the images from that period, many of them previously unpublished, are featured in a new Taschen collector’s edition book, Bob Dylan: A Year and a Day. In this exclusive interview with China Daily Lifestyle Premium from his home in New York, Kramer discusses the years he spent witnessing Dylan’s transformation from folk singer to rock icon.

A Year and A Day with Dylan


Photographer Daniel Kramer had unique access to Bob Dylan at the height of the musician's creative powers in 1964 and 1965, and shot the covers of the groundbreaking albums Bringing it All Back Home and Highway 61 Revisited. Almost 200 of the images from that period, many of them previously unpublished, are featured in a new Taschen collector’s edition book, Bob Dylan: A Year and a Day. In this exclusive interview with China Daily Lifestyle Premium from his home in New York, Kramer discusses the years he spent witnessing Dylan’s transformation from folk singer to rock icon.

People > LP Exclusive


A Year and A Day with Dylan

May 27, 2016 / by Robert Jones

How did it all begin?

I first discovered Bob Dylan when he was doing a TV variety show in February of 1964 – I didn’t know who he was, I didn’t know much about folk music, but he started singing “The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll”. Those words were so mesmerising for me, as poetry, and so scary; here was this young fellow singing these things publicly about this crime. I was hooked on the idea and the words.

Why did you want to photograph him?

I was a young photographer and wanted to build my portfolio, so I called his management office and asked for an hour’s sitting to do a portrait. A half a year went by before accidentally I got Albert Grossman [Dylan’s manager] on the phone and he said, “Why don’t you come up to Woodstock next Thursday?” And that’s how it started.

He seemed very playful – climbing a tree, sitting in a swing. Was that typical of the young Dylan?

Dylan didn’t care to just do a portrait; he wanted to do more interesting pictures. He scampered up a tree – physically he was pretty strong, he was in good condition – he snapped a bullwhip in the air. He felt he should do things he normally does and that I should photograph it. And I just took pictures and I realised he was giving me something. Then he said, “Do you want to go for lunch?” and my hour turned into five or six hours.

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What happened next?

I drove back to New York. I made prints. I made an appointment and went up to the office in New York, and met with his manager Albert Grossman and Bob, and put the pictures out on a big conference table. They walked around the table. They looked at the pictures and then Bob said to me “I’m going to Philadelphia next week; would you like to come?” and I said yes, and that’s how it all began.

Do you think Grossman and Dylan saw you as part of the process of creating his public persona?

I did some pictures of him performing when we went to Philadelphia – I was enthralled because his stage performance was very powerful. I gave him some pictures up at the office of that shoot, and the next time we went to a concert a couple of weeks after that there were posters at the theatre with those pictures. And when they had to do an advertisement, they would call me for pictures. They liked one where his hand was to his face – that picture they used around the world, and it was one of the pictures that people met him by, knew him by, at the beginning of his career when he was becoming an international star and the guy who changed the music business.

Your cover photo of Bringing it All Back Home showed Dylan’s change to a new rock-star image. 

Bringing it All Back Home was the first album cover I ever did and he doesn’t look like the guy in the first four albums. He’s not a folk singer in that picture; you don’t know what he does. I wanted to show that he was a prince of music – that if music had degrees of royalty, he would be a prince. I was certain, with all the music I was hearing, all the poetry, everything, that he was a special person, a creator, an artist. And I wanted him to look that way.

Your images seem to perfectly capture where Dylan was as an artist at that time.

That was my strength as a portrait photographer – taking a portrait means you delineate, try to show the audience something of this person that may even be a little below the surface. Something of the personality, something of the moment – and some mystery. All these things go into great portraits.

Did you have a sense of musical history being made when you photographed the Bringing it All Back Home recording sessions?

No one had heard this music before. Bob had written his songs for the session but no one had heard his music, his idea for the music. That was the first time he professionally played electric since he had become Bob Dylan. He was trying to make combinations, trying to work things out. This music, folk rock as it became known, was being invented right there in Studio A while I was shooting.

In the book you describe his creativity like a “spring” that was about to uncoil. Why?

I sensed he was anxious to get it out, anxious to show what he could do, anxious to make a good album, anxious to get everyone in line so they could work with him, anxious to do these things and he was putting forth this effort. He was the same guy who scampered up the tree: you saw his strength, a different strength – the strength of conviction, the strength of his musicianship. The coil idea was that this was in him, and by releasing it in these sessions he was becoming Bob Dylan, the Bob Dylan that we learned to know. He was becoming that, right there, in the studio. And it was very exciting. 

You were shooting images in the studio the day he recorded “Like a Rolling Stone”, which many critics rank as the greatest rock song ever. What were your first impressions?

You knew it was different and you knew it was special because of its length, but you didn’t know more than that. When the thing is being created, you know it’s new, but you don’t know yet what we’ve got or how will people accept it, or will they actually run it, because songs were three minutes – that’s the length they played on the disc jockey shows. 

You saw the length as a problem?

Three minutes was the average for a song, which was why there were 12 songs on an album because the 12-inch vinyl held that much music in its grooves; you could put six on each side. It was all part of the arithmetic, and here comes this guy and it’s six minutes and something – will they even play it? Will they say you have to edit it down? Will Columbia Records say, “We have to cut this in half, Bob. We can’t put it out this way; it’s not right. Nobody makes them this long.” It was daring – and successful. It changed that day. After that, there was no going back. Not for him and not for the music industry. It changed. That song. 

What’s the story behind the Highway 61 Revisited cover where Dylan wears the Triumph Motorcycles T-shirt?

We spent a lot of that day shooting at this cafe, O Henry’s. I had made a lot of pictures and I reckoned we probably had the cover in there. Then we walked a few blocks to where Bob was living at the time in Gramercy Park and he said, “Look, I have a new T-shirt and I’d like to get a picture of me in it.” So Bob went into his room and came out with this T-shirt on and a colourful shirt over it, and sat down on the step. 

Who is standing behind him?

There was a big hole in the top left of the frame, so I said to his road manager Bob Neuwirth, “Why don’t you go up and stand behind Bob?” You see him from the waist down but you don’t know who he is. Then I asked my assistant to give him my other camera, and I asked Bob Neuwirth to hang it from his hand. It looked good, so I took two frames and said, “Okay guys, we’re finished for today.” When I edited all the stuff, Bob said, “I like this one, let’s run with this.”

This was much different from Bringing it All Back Home; there was no script. They were made in two different ways and they both worked.

There is a very intense image of Dylan and Johnny Cash deep in conversation at a dinner table. What was the dynamic between them?

It is summed up in a picture where they are standing together for a portrait and Cash has his arm around Bobby’s shoulder. Big, tall, strong – he is the older man and he is the more famous man at the moment – he is the Man in Black. Bob and him had a good relationship, a friendly one; they wrote to each other. I felt there was the older, more experienced performer and the young, coming-along troubadour.

You seemed impressed by Johnny Cash’s presence.

When I met him, I had already met the president of the United States. I had already met Marilyn Monroe. I had already met Muhammad Ali. Meeting Johnny Cash – you knew he was a star, even if you didn’t know anything about him. He had it in him and it was oozing out. He filled up the whole room. He was special and you sensed it right away. There are people like that. He was a little overwhelming.

Do you feel you got close to Dylan?

I think that the pictures tell the story. We were able to work together. We trusted each other to a point. We both wanted the same thing. We wanted good images, good pictures; we wanted a document. That’s what we were doing. I think we were successful at it. Most of the things in this book are honest. 

You shot around 30 sessions with him over a year and a day – from August 27, 1964 to August 28, 1965. Why did it end?

I felt I had gone from point A to point B and obtained everything. I had recording, I had stage, I had home, I had private, I had the album cover shots, a lot of stuff and it’s a big world. I thought I had done my work. Bob had a nice collection of stuff to use, and soon after that he had a motorcycle accident and he was out of commission for a very long time. He was unseen, he was getting married, he was having children, and I had to move on just like he had to move on.

You first published a pocket-sized photo book of Dylan in 1968. Why publish this deluxe edition now?

In the first book, there were not many of the other people – Johnny Cash, Allen Ginsberg. The first book had 140 pictures; it was much more limited. So why another one? There were these other pictures that would flesh out the story and maybe get another take on it. And also there are a lot of people who don’t know there is a first book, who weren’t even born then. So this is the updated edition. 

Have you met Dylan since?

One of the things I try not to do, about Dylan or my other subjects who kindly let me into their lives, is to discuss them as a private person. I have worked with Dylan’s organisation for these 50 years and I just provided 40 pictures for the book that went with his album The Cutting Edge. I have always been involved with one project or another that Bob was working on. So it is a continuing relationship.

Could you have imagined that Dylan would still be performing well into his 70s?

I certainly thought that Dylan’s career would not be over in six months. I certainly realised he had some kind of musical genius that still hadn’t really blossomed or flourished the way it eventually did; it just kept building and building. There are a lot of special people out there, but he was special special.


Daniel Kramer. Bob Dylan: A Year and a Day
Edition of 1,765 + 200 APs
Daniel Kramer
Hardcover in a clamshell box, letterpress-printed chapter openers with tipped-in photographs, two different paper stocks, and three foldouts, 31.2 x 44cm, 288 pages

ISBN 978-3-8365-4760-4
ultilingual Edition: English, French, German

 

 

 

 

 

Images: © Daniel Kramer/courtesy of TASCHEN

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Generation We


Generation We


People > LP Exclusive


 

Special Report

Generation We: Han Huohuo, Gogoboi, Shiliupo, Peter Xu, Becky Li, Chrison

April 29, 2016 / by Emily Zhang, Selena Li, Yi-jie, Jon Braun, Natacha Riva

In the late-1990s, the “weblog” (mercifully shortened to “blog” early in its incarnation) vastly changed the way people grappled with the emergence of the internet, particularly in the West. Whether it was a personal diary or a round-up of the coolest links, blogs served as a great way to navigate the modern world and the then-unmapped World Wide Web.

Fast-forward two decades and a new force has undeniably taken hold of the modern internet: social media. Globally, an astounding 92% of people online have at least one account on a social network, according to the latest figures from research institute GlobalWebIndex (GWI).

Nowhere is this more pronounced in scale than in China, whose 688 million internet users is more than double the population of America. For blogging in particular, Weibo, launched in 2009 as Sina Weibo, has remained an influential platform in the country. The latest GWI figures also show that since the emergence of WeChat in 2011, 64% of Chinese internet users across all adult age groups now use the service – and numbers are even higher (68%) for those from the ages of 25 to 44. 

How does this affect the realm of fashion, particularly as big brands look to engage with the world’s largest market? Social media-based fashion bloggers and “we media” (roughly, grassroots reporters of news and social trends) have become wildly popular in China, particularly in covering the luxury fashion industry. 

By posting photos and discussing their sense of style, the most followed users are considered to be powerful “key opinion leaders” who can make or break trends – and it’s little wonder that most brands are clamouring to collaborate.

Many Western fashion bloggers have tended to focus on themselves, generally on their personal style through a standalone blog or via daily selfies on platforms such as Instagram; they’re often well-connected in the industry, too. However, a key difference in China is that most users make their debuts on social-media platforms such as Weibo and WeChat, gaining a tangible number of followers by discussing broader fashion trends, celebrity styles and entertainment industry gossip rather than their own looks.

But who are these powerful digital influencers, who have millions eagerly awaiting their daily posts? How did they start their fabulous careers – and has it been all glitz and glamour? You’ll be surprised by their wildly divergent paths to the upper echelons of style. From the spotlight-shy to the front-row darlings, read on for our rare interviews with six of the most game-changing forces in China’s modern fashion world.

中文版

90年代中期,“网络部落格”(早期简称博客),很大程度上改变了人们对于互联网的认识,这一点在西方地区尤为明显。 无论是作为个人日志还是优秀网页链接的集合,博客对于探索现代社会和网络世界,都是很好方式。

经过20年的快速发展,一股不可抵抗的新力量全面占据互联网,它就是社交媒体。研究机构Global Web Index(GWI)的最新数据显示,全球范围内,高达92%的互联网用户至少拥有一个社交媒体帐号。

这种现象在中国最为明显。特别是2009年发布的新浪微博,一直是中国最有影响力的社交平台。根据GWI的最新数据,自2011年微信出现以来,中国有64%的网民在使用这一服务。而在25至44的年龄段中,有68%的微信用户。

如今,世界各大时尚品牌都在想方设法与中国市场有更多互动。中国活跃的社交媒体如何影响时尚行业?在中国,社交媒体上的时尚博主和“自媒人”(私人化、平民化、普泛化、自主化的传播者)很受奢侈时尚行业欢迎。他们分享精美的图片,发表自己对时尚的见解。其中最受粉丝追捧的几位被认为是中国时尚圈的“关键意见领袖”,他们可以创造甚至改变潮流趋势。所以各大品牌都争先与他们合作。

西方时尚博主更多地是专注于他们自己本身,通过独立博客或者类似于Instagram这样的平台分享他们的穿着和自拍。当然,他们通常和时尚行业联系紧密。中国时尚博主和他们最大的不同是,他们并不是靠展示自己形象吸引大量粉丝,而是通过微博或者微信这样的社交媒体平台,分享时尚潮流,明星打扮和娱乐圈八卦。

那么这些在屏幕背后工作,拥有数百万粉丝的人都是谁?他们是如何开启这番事业?这个行业是否真的如此光鲜亮丽?我们采访了中国当下时尚行业最有影响的6个人物,从低调的博主到秀场前排宠儿,他们丰富的职业经历和超前的时尚品味会让你大吃一惊!

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Time to Play: Katy Perry


In this exclusive interview with China Daily Lifestyle Premium, the multi-award-winning US pop goddess and fashion icon talks about her H&M holiday campaign, her disdain for odd numbers, the must-have baby wipes and hand lotions in her bag, and how she’d love to style Hillary Clinton. With exclusive behind-the-scenes photos

Time to Play: Katy Perry


In this exclusive interview with China Daily Lifestyle Premium, the multi-award-winning US pop goddess and fashion icon talks about her H&M holiday campaign, her disdain for odd numbers, the must-have baby wipes and hand lotions in her bag, and how she’d love to style Hillary Clinton. With exclusive behind-the-scenes photos

People > LP Exclusive



Katy Perry 

December 22, 2015 / interview by Natacha Riva

China Daily Lifestyle Premium: H&M in Hong Kong is about to open its flagship store in Causeway Bay, which will be its biggest boutique in Asia. The city’s fashionistas are super-excited to hear about your new collaboration for this year’s H&M holiday campaign.

Katy Perry: It was great fun to be part of the campaign and to be the face of their holiday season. The brand and I have a history. I first started to wear H&M when I was 13 because I was always shopping on a budget. I would go on vintage shopping sprees and then accessorise with H&M stuff. So it’s a very organic friendship. For the campaign, I got to do a commercial with Joneth Acolon, in which I’m a pixie fairy and, for half of the time, I was flying all over the stage. I wore a harness for a couple of days and I had all bruises all over my body.

CDLP: Oh, really? Sounds painful!

KP: But it was all fun. They created an amazing holiday atmosphere and there were lots of kids on set, which I loved, because they’re adorable. There was even a huge electronic polar bear, which all the kids thought was real. So the whole experience was very sweet.

When you see the commercial, you’ll see different kids in different outfits and costumes, all of them sold at H&M. Some of the girls were only three or four years old, but they were wearing mouse costumes – they were so sweet. And there was a boy wearing a dinosaur costume – that was adorable. That’s perfect because I have a niece now, and she’ll be almost two years old soon, so I’ll definitely grab some of these clothes for her.

CDLP: What’s one of your favourite pieces from the H&M holiday collection?

KP: Well, the accessories are amazing, especially the earrings. They’re big, Spanish style, but very lightweight. I wore some with a red dress and they’re beautiful. There’s also one tuxedo jacket with arms cut like a geisha jacket that’s gorgeous. It’s very beautiful and well tailored – I can put it on and not have to touch it. It was perfect. I was very impressed by the whole H&M line. The collection is chic and fun. There’s also one sweater called the Elfie-Selfie; it’s like a grey sweater that has the outline of an elf with glitter and it’s funny. 

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CDLP: What was your favourite H&M designer collaboration? 

KP: In fact, I just saw the Balmain collaboration [#H&MBalmaination] and I’ve already put in my request for what I’d love to wear from the collection. I remember Lanvin, the Alber Elbaz collection [2010] – I liked that a lot. And I loved the Donatella Versace collection [2011] a lot, too. In fact, I saw something from the Balmain collection again today and thought, hmmm, maybe I know somebody over there who can get me a discount!

CDLP: Despite all that’s been said about you, what hasn’t yet been written yet about you and your fashion style?

KP: That she’s boring! [Laughter] Well, I’m glad they haven’t said that yet! I always think I’m very creative and colourful, and
I think I’m having lots more fun sometimes.

CDLP: Which is quite refreshing…

KP: Yes. There are certain people who play too much of a political fashion game, who haven’t been having as much fun as I do. So I just like to stay true to myself. One thing I never used to wear is black, and now sometimes I wear black.

CDLP: Describe your relationship with fashion.

KP: I think life can be extremely difficult the older you get and when you become an adult. You need little breaks sometimes – we all do – and fashion can give you little breaks. The way you present yourself can lift your spirits and make you feel what you want to be, which is happy.

CDLP: What are the must-have items in your bag?

KP: I love baby wipes; I love hand lotion that smells like strawberry and bananas; I like pastilles for my throat; and I like Jao hand sanitiser, which smells so wonderful. I take lots of vitamins. I like extra phone chargers; I have a gold Pantone phone charger. I got it at Colette in Paris. Every time I go to Paris, I go to Colette.

CDLP: If you could style any public figure for a photo shoot, who would it be?

KP: Maybe Hillary Clinton. I like her pantsuits. I could put her in some Moschino or maybe some Chanel. But then, I also know you can’t be too flashy when you’re a politician, so you have to occupy the middle ground. But I’d love to try to style her one day.

CDLP: You’re supporting Hillary’s election campaign, aren’t you? 

KP: Yes, so it’s a natural thing! And Michelle Obama looks beautiful all the time. And President Obama wears Brioni. So, people are definitely bringing it to the White House!

CDLP: Who would you like to see collaborate with H&M that hasn’t yet? 

KP: Kanye West.

CDLP: You’re just about to celebrate your 31st birthday. How did you enjoy being 30?

KP: It went by very fast. I do not like being an odd number, like 31. I don’t like the idea of being an odd number – I protest!

Images: courtesy of H&M

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London’s Burning: Chantal Thomass


Chantal Thomass is the eccentric rock star of the lingerie world, and her autumn-winter 2015 collection is as glamorous as ever, capturing the heart of the swinging capital

London’s Burning: Chantal Thomass


Chantal Thomass is the eccentric rock star of the lingerie world, and her autumn-winter 2015 collection is as glamorous as ever, capturing the heart of the swinging capital

People > LP Exclusive



Chantal Thomass

September 25, 2015 / interview by Natacha Riva

Describe your collection in three words.

Feminine, cheeky, twisted.

What inspired it?

The inspiration was swinging London and its eccentric, rock ’n’ roll side, with some distorted cultural codes: tartan, kilt, perfecto.

How would you describe the spirit of Chantal Thomass?

It's a brand of lingerie which is rather more fashion than traditional lingerie. I'm coming from fashion and in my mind lingerie is a fashion accessory.

Any good advice for men who want to buy underwear for their partners? 

Be sure of their size, and choose lingerie for their partner and not for themselves.

You are the queen of French lingerie. What has made your brand so successful around the world for so many decades? 

The originality. Every season I design brand new lines that are very different from other lingerie brands, and more fashionable than traditional corsetry.

Some women would love to wear sophisticated lingerie but feel reluctant if they don’t have a body like a model. What would you tell them?

Unfortunately, only a few women have a body like a model. But my collections are made to suit every breast. In each line, we offer several shapes of bras. Any woman can find a bra that will make her feel gorgeous.

What’s your definition of seduction?

To like oneself, to feel comfortable and self-confident in order to please other people.

When was the last time you visited Hong Kong, and what are your favourite places here?

It was almost a year ago. Whenever I arrive in Hong Kong, I leave my luggage at the hotel – W or InterContinental – and have a drink at Sevva for the atmosphere and the splendid terrace view. My favourite restaurants are La Terrazza, Lupa, Zuma, Stone Nullah Tavern and Spoon at the InterContinental Hotel; my favourite store is Lane Crawford; and my favourite night spot is Kee Club.

©Ellen von Unwerth