Takashi Murakami doesn’t give much credence to his superbrand status. In fact, he doesn’t ever think of his work in that way.
“It’s probably a label that follows me around because of my work with Louis Vuitton,” he said. But despite that lucrative endeavor, the artist was only half joking when he told the crowd at Thursday’s Pratt Legends awards dinner at Pier 61 in Manhattan that his company is “almost bankrupt.”
“I have a company of 130 people. This part is great but I spent the money myself. Even in Tokyo one month ago, I spent $7 million. Then nothing,” he said, referring to the eleventh edition of the GEISAI, an art fair solely backed by his company Kaikai Kiki. “But today, now that I’ve gotten this prize, I am keeping up my courage for the future.”
The ideas are still spouting. Aside from wanting to secure sponsors to expand GEISAI, Murakami will open a Los Angeles office next year as part of his plan “to pursue a new style of film enterprise,” one that is said to be heavy on animation.
Having seen firsthand how Japan’s bubble economy collapsed in the early Nineties, he is already predicting how things will develop in the U.S. this time around. While the art market took 18 months to falter after Japan’s recession, this time the art market should slow down to a halt as early as next spring, Murakami predicted. But his work will be free from Wall Street’s storm clouds. “I’d much rather approach it through the lens of fantasy than express it as a reality,” he said. “Take Ridley Scott, for example. His recent films are very realistic but when it comes to the ability to communicate a timeless message, they can’t compete with a fantasy like ‘Blade Runner.’”
Dressed in a Louis Vuitton camouflage jacket, yellow cashmere sweater, jeans, sequined bow tie and Lego “T” pin at the dinner, Murakami was nothing if not sunny. As for his impression of fashion today, he said, “I sense a sort of confusion about what is sexy. I’d like to see something more glamorous, like funk music fashion of the Seventies.”
In the meantime, he is nonplussed about critics of art’s commercialism, noting business practices in the sports industry have evolved and become more elegant, due partially to Michael Jordan’s and Tiger Woods’ hands-on branding strategies. “In comparison, we could say we haven’t even begun to see a full-scale commercialism in the art world,” Murakami said.
Time will tell, and “only time is truly impartial” is in fact the best advice anyone ever gave him, Murakami said.
As one of the most recognizable models in the world, Christy Turlington Burns has an insider’s view of the fashion industry and the allegations of sexual harassment swirling around it. “I can say that harassment and mistreatment have always been widely known and tolerated in the industry. The industry is surrounded by predators who thrive on the constant rejection and loneliness so many of us have experiences at some point in our careers,” Turlington told WWD, along with her suggestions for how the modeling world should protect younger women and men. Read more on WWD.com. Link in bio. (📷: Tony Palmieri) #wwdnews
@asics America has tapped a new brand ambassador: famed DJ/record producer @steveaoki. This initiative is intended to set the tone for the new brand identity and philosophy and will include partnerships with influencers and in-store and off-line activations that will continue into next year. This is Asics’ most significant marketing effort in two decades, and is expected to attract younger consumers to the brand. #wwdfashion
24-year-old Jean Prounis is redefining the rules of jewelry. Formerly a studio assistant to Jemima Kirke and a design apprentice at Ghuran, she focuses on handcrafted subtleties and ancient goldsmithing techniques. “There was a really sterile feel in the environment and I wanted to have jewelry with character that shapes how you wear it everyday,” Prounis said. Each piece is hand made in New York, either by Prounis or three other jewelers in the district. #wwdfashion
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“Stranger Things” is getting a new cast member for season 2. Meet @sadiesink_, the 15-year-old who will be joining the Netflix series for its new season. You may recognize her from “The Glass Castle” with Brie Larson and Woody Harrelson, but the Texas native’s next role goes in an entirely different direction. She describes her character, Max, as “a rough and tumble skater girl [who] becomes friends with the boys at school.” The second season debuts on October 27. (📷: @jgreenery) #wwdeye
Amid the Harvey Weinstein controversy, there’s another sector that’s being put under the spotlight for sexual abuse: the modeling industry. While rumors about abuse and sexual harassment of female and male models — and the photographers, agents and others who perpetrated it — have circulated within the fashion world for years, model @cameronrussell started posting stories from models on Instagram last week about abusive situations they’ve encountered — from sexual harassment and molestation to attempted rape. Over 75 have weighed in so far. Read more on WWD.com. Link in bio. #wwdnews
To celebrate its 16th anniversary, @dylanscandybar tapped designers and celebrities to create mosaics out of candy. The mosaics will be auctioned off to support the philanthropic cause of each participant’s choice. Pictured here is the mural created by @aliceandolivia's Stacey Bendet. For a first look at some of the other artwork being unveiled tonight, go to WWD.com. #wwdeye
The annual Veuve Clicquot Polo Classic in Pacific Palisades this weekend drew Kate Hudson, Tracee Ellis Ross, Laura Dern and more. See pictures of the star-studded event on WWD.com. (📷: @chelsealaurenla) #wwdeye
In his new book “Hollywood Royale,” Andy Warhol’s Protégé Matthew Rolston celebrates the Eighties revival of Hollywood glamour. Featuring more than 100 portraits taken by Rolston from 1977 to 1993, the book contains photos of icons like Michael Jackson, Cyndi Lauper, and @drewbarrymore, pictured here in 1991. “Hollywood Royale,” out today, will be accompanied by an exhibition opening at Los Angeles’ Fahey/Klein Gallery on March 1. #wwdeye