This week, with the release of her fourth studio album, ARTPOP, Lady Gaga created two pop-up galleries for her little monsters to converge on. The first pop-up was in New York, obviously, but Gaga would be remiss if she didn’t hit up the west coast. Shortly after the LA dates were released, we headed down to Cahuenga Blvd to see what it was all about. Knowing Gaga, we expected to see some crazy installations, but were surprised at how simple the space was. The wall covered in her singles artwork was the most visually appealing part, but was by no means an indication of artistic ingenuity. An 8×8 shot of her toned behind and a grill consisting of what looked like f*cked up human teeth made for some visceral material, but everything thereafter unfortunately fell short.
Moving on to the upstairs portion, stood past outfits and props from various tours, performances, and music videos. Among the outfits was the now infamous white square headpiece and robe she wore to open the 2013 MTV VMAs, the controversial machine gun bra from the ‘Alejandro’ music video, and her iconic bejeweled purple jacket from the ‘Monster Ball’ Tour. Sadly, the display was not as glamorous as we wished, looking more like a misguided amalgam of merchandise and so-called artistry.
If we had to choose a 2nd place winner for the most interesting part of the night, it would go to the interactive portion. Gaga fans are known to be pretty creative, so watching them in their element was a highlight. Pseudo-monsters took to the mirror to recreate the paint-smeared ‘Applause’ album artwork look, and walked around like they were in everyday attire. Next, fans took to a paper-covered wall where they could show their love and appreciation for the pop star. To the left stood an interactive dance station sponsored by Just Dance 4 and lastly, a photo booth/Beats by Dre listening station – which seemed redundant due to the album playing loudly throughout the space.
Conveniently the Artpop album and t-shirts were sold – reassuring us the pop-up was not just about allowing fans to interact, but about making that dollar as well.
All in all, while the idea of a Lady Gaga-curated pop-up space was appealing, we weren’t quite sure if the idea had realized its potential. And was it worth the traffic on Sunset Blvd? Probably not.
It’s been said that men are from Mars and women are from Venus. The idiom has inspired and provoked the human condition for centuries. Holy Carter aka Jay-Z even wrote a song about it. We at LA CANVAS chose to entertain this dichotomy by pairing two emerging LA-based stylists and icons growing in fashion scene against each other. The street-chic sensibility and fireball energy of Ann Marie Hoang paired with the artistic, grunge-prep, lady-killer vibes of Justin Barco makes for a perfect match-up. In honor of PUBLISH BRAND‘s 2013 release, we pulled in the Jogger Pants and some of our favorites.
LAC: First question is where did you get your start?
Ann Marie: My Uncle, Hau Nguyen, owner of Duc Duc Salon in Torrance taught me good work ethic. My hustle was recognized by Aban Sonia, Boss lady at Art.
Justin Barco : I started off modeling, and my style caught on to people so I just made the best of what I could and the things I knew and started developing my own brand/career from there.
LAC: Both of you guys like to flirt with androgyny in your personal style. Explain why.
JB: In my case as a male I feel that one should be a balance between both masculinity and femininity and I mean that with out a sexual connotation but to understand our type of being and taste of culture. I look for art in all elements so to me it’s show casing pieces I’ve collected through time.
AM: I flirt with everything fashion related. I don’t discriminate, but I like the dichotomy of mixing feminine and masculine pieces together. That’s the luxury of being a lady, we can pull off anything.
LAC: So, Ann Marie, why wardrobe styling?
AM: Style can change your entire mood. It can make you feel like a badass, or sexy, or whimsical, etc. I like to translate these feelings to my audience. Aside from editorial work, I chose to style individuals because I believe that everyone has style. I like to maximize the potential inner-badass in each individual that I work with. I love to see my clients discover who they really are stylistically. It is the most rewarding part of what I do.
LAC: Justin, I’m interested as to know how optimistic are you about your future in fashion?
JB: I’ve been blessed with amazing opportunities, and have been in settings that I never imagined to be, so I’m looking forward to what is in store for me in the arts. I’m very optimistic.
LAC: Educate us on the LA “indie” fashion scene?
AM: Well LA is a melting pot of a lot of different sub cultures within the city. We have WEHO where folks tend to be more avant-garde, Beverly Hills where folks are more classic casual, Downtown’s where folks tend to be more fashion-forward, then we have Venice where folks are more boho. That’s what I love about LA’s indie fashion scene–you can be transported to a whole different world by driving 10 mins.
JB: Personally, don’t like it, I feel its too saturated and corporations made it a bit cheesy.
LAC: I have this amour with cliche questions. Ok. Where do you think you’ll be in 3 years?
AM: In 3 years I see myself traveling more to expand my own personal taste in style.
JB: Lol- Ah man ha, it’s a hard to say but I’m working on it, definitely somewhere beautiful. I’ll make sure to get back to this question in 3 years.
“I’m on that red wine, shorty likes white. Same shit different toilet, we both getting nice”
– Jay-Z “Venus vs. Mars”
Photographer: Mark Wales