The Genteel
March 7, 2021

Alina Kulesh

Alina Kulesh speaks with Oscar-nominated costume designer, Jacqueline Durran, the creative mastermind behind Pride & Prejudice (2005), Atonement (2005) and now Joe Wright's upcoming film, Anna Karenina. Durran's designs had to reflect Wright's expressionistic and experimental directorial vision - and the result is a stunning blend of two centuries.

By Alina Kulesh

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Alina Kulesh

Toronto Canada

Alina is the editor of frank by The Genteel, freelance writer and occasional portrait painter.  Prior to venturing into the editorial world, Alina worked in advertising and feature film distribution. When she's not writing or working on frank, she is visiting an art exhibit, travelling or simply drinking (great) wine while reading a (great) book or enjoying a (great) conversation. She's a dreamer - but she knows she's not the only one. 

Deeply embedded in Western culture, denim just keeps on giving. A textile initially worn by farmers, miners and fishermen, denim is now the foundation of every (wo)man's closet. Alina Kulesh pays homage to fashion's greatest superhero: the jean.

Frida Kahlo's sensuality, vibrancy and rebellious attitude spilled into her artwork and wardrobe. Much like her paintings, her style has gained posthumous popularity and international acclaim. Now, fashion designers are trying to reconstruct Kahlo through their collections. Alina Kulesh explores the elements attributable to her iconic style.

During turbulent economic times and the pressure to live sustainably, the home buying market must welcome new solutions with an open mind. Alina Kulesh explores the concept of container homes and their fit in modern society.

Punk fashion has been re-emerging lately - but why now? Or had it never left in the first place? Alina Kulesh explores punk's monumental influence on fashion, only to discover that punk, along with other subcultures, have rapidly disappeared.

The fashion industry is buzzing about the potential in Africa's growing middle class, particularly in Ghana, Nigeria and Kenya. But is the continent, which still faces issues of crushing famine and poverty, ready for luxury goods? Alina Kulesh explores the progression of luxury throughout the continent.

As the highly anticipated exhibition, Patti Smith: Camera Solo, opens today at the Art Gallery of Ontario, Alina Kulesh dives into the finer details of Smith's artistry and discovers a show full of admiration and gratitude. Camera Solo runs from February 9 to May 13, 2013.

F. Scott Fitzgerald, Vladimir Nabokov, Jackson Pollock, Alfred Hitchcock and Man Ray: men who have shaped the arts in the 20th century. But look closely at their shadows, and you'll see their unsung partners, better halves, and, in many cases, worst enemies - in female form.

Facebook Inc.'s new feature, Facebook Collections, offers brands a new avenue to expand into the appetising world of online social shopping. Alina Kulesh discusses how brands can benefits and why some should stay far away.

In the quickly changing landscape of luxury retail, brands are being forced to think outside the box in order to keep their clientele from yawning. Historic French fashion house, Christian Dior, is leading by example. Alina Kulesh speaks with renowned luxury brand expert, Marie-France Pochna - author of the famous Christian Dior biography - on what it takes for a luxury brand to keep on turning heads.

From Christian Grey to Jay Gatsby, Alina Kulesh explores the influence of literary heroes in current fashion collections - illustrating the thin line between fiction and fashion.

What would Pablo Picasso have thought of today's trends in design, fashion and art? Alina Kulesh dives into Picasso's past through the upcoming Art Gallery of Ontario exhibit, Picasso: Masterpieces from the Musée National Picasso, Paris, to construct his present identity.

In every mega-successful fashion designer's career, there comes a time when they must ponder: "to collaborate, or not to collaborate, with H&M?" Alina Kulesh fears that the Queen of Young Parisian Chic, Isabel Marant, has chosen unwisely.

Luxury fashion brand RIKA understands romanticised individuality: the RIKA fashion collection, bi-yearly RIKA magazine, a boutique located in Amsterdam's Leidseplein neighbourhood, and most recently, the Maison RIKA guesthouse. 

The Art Gallery of Ontario's new exhibit, Frida & Diego: Passion, Politics and Painting, exposes the burning passion of the worlds of Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo. Rivera's grandiose work once overshadowed the intimate oeuvre of Kahlo, but now the tables have turned. Alina Kulesh wanders down their artistic path, learning that opposites do attract - both in love and in art.

Russia's cultural landscape is finally getting a much-needed makeover after an interminable drought. With the golden hands of some of Russia's most creative minds, the vast Eurasian country is turning heads once again. Innovative, well-educated and beautiful "Czarinas" are putting Russia back on the culture map.

Parisian women have long been regarded as the ultimate symbols of elegance and chic. But is this, in fact, a reality? Photographer Baudouin (yes, a one name wonder) sets out to uncover the world of Parisian women, resulting in the eclectic photo series, 75 Parisiennes.

Alina Kulesh explores the ultimate fashion statement piece - the bicycle - and its flourishing, stylish place in modern society.

Art publishing houses, Phaidon and Steidl, have curated their list of must-have coffee table books specifically for The Genteel reader. In good graces, we also offer our own selection to enrich both the mind and the home. 

In an increasingly digital world, is there still a place for the old tradition of portrait painting? Alina Kulesh considers the prominence of classical portrait painting in the digital age. 

The humble t-shirt is an underrated staple in closets around the world - even though it has proven to be the garment with the most political punch. Alina Kulesh traces the t-shirt's evolution, from underdog to global hero.  

The intricate aesthetic of ballet is representative of its complex, exacting nature and enduring seduction of the public. The National Ballet of Canada in partnership with The Design Exchange are offering an intimate behind-the-stage look at the ballet company's style in an exclusive exhibit, 60 Years of Designing the Ballet. Alina Kulesh interviewed exhibit curator and seasoned costume designer, Caroline O'Brien, on the fashion of the ballet.

After several public backlashes, Marc Jacobs recently concluded that to avoid controversy, it's best not to mix fashion and political commentary. Alina Kulesh asks, "why not"?

It used to be that one had to keep their voice down and wear their Sunday best to worship the artistic masters. But, the gallery and museum experience is evolving. Alina Kulesh takes a tour of the digital museum landscape.

March 2013 marked the launch of the 21st international Vogue publication, Vogue Ukraine. A celebratory moment for the country, Vogue Ukraine shines a light on Ukrainian talent - in the Russian language - and highlights the creeping issue of the Russianisation of Ukraine.

Adam Kimmel's unexpected sabbatical stunned the fashion world. Despite being a young designer, Kimmel is notoriously innovative and his presentations have earned him global recognition. His sudden departure spawns a debate on the nature of creativity, as well as how it can be nourished and prevented from early demise.

The bra: it's a part of society's sexual discourse and illustrates our culture's taste and sexuality. Alina Kulesh explores the recent proliferation of bra tops on the runways.

Naples-born Mimmo Jodice is an innovative contemporary photographer and avant-garde artist. Since 1978, he has been exploring his surreal vision of urban landscapes, creating silent images in black-and-white. In his recent trip to Montreal, Canada, Jodice rediscovered the city through his lens.

Fashion is an industry that never sleeps and is always hungry for more. While attending the 2012 Mercedes-Benz StartUp finale during Toronto's World Mastercard Fashion Week, Alina Kulesh asks the question: What does it take to become a successful fashion designer?

At a time when print books are declining in favour of eBooks, Alina Kulesh explores the coffee table book's growing status as an art item. Art publishing houses, Phaidon and Steidl, have curated a list of must-have coffee table books for The Genteel readers; so go ahead, and judge the book by its cover.

Given the importance of first impressions on judging people, places and experiences, Alina Kulesh explores the communicative properties of smart menu design - revealing just how much menus influence overall dining experience.

In Op Art, what came first: the science or the art? Or is Op Art science undercover as art? Alina Kulesh explores the re-emergence of Op Art and what it reveals about the cultural zeitgeist.

World War I was a time of grief and destruction for many. However, it also brought on one of the most fruitful and creative art movements of our time. Art Gallery of Ontario's (AGO) new exhibition, "The Great Upheaval: Masterpieces from the Guggenheim Collection, 1910-1918", highlights the incredible artwork leading up to and throughout WW1.

At his studio in Jersey City, artist Kirk Bray is creating unique mixed media art pieces which unite the past with the present. Through found materials, vintage photographs, magazine clippings, and the work of the late artist Arthur Sturcke, Bray's witty and satirical masterpieces are not to be missed. 

A few weeks ago, in the course of Pinning, Alina Kulesh discovered the egalitarian and surprisingly popular world of phillumeny - the collecting of match-related items (yes, matches). Kulesh traces the history of the hobby and speaks with lifetime phillumenist and author, Roger Fennings.

The honorary rebels of the art world, the Impressionists were inspired by modernity, daily life, and the ever-changing qualities of light. With the Normandy Impressionist Festival in full-swing, we explore the enchanting exhibition, Impressions Dior, with curator Florence Müller.

The crème de la crème of Toronto's culture scene was buzzing with excitement at the opening reception for 60 Years of Designing the Ballet and The Tutu Project at the Design Exchange. Alina Kulesh reports from the project that has captured Canada's diversity, abundant creativity and strong communal support.

Since its debut in October 2012, luxury label Maiyet has been capturing hearts across the world by embracing traditional artisanal techniques - a rarity in a typically lacquered fashion industry. Alina Kulesh uncovers Maiyet's world - its philosophy, work and inspirations.

Art Basel Miami Beach is the not-to-be-missed art fair for gallery owners, dealers, curators and jetsetters from around the world. Alina Kulesh highlights the most notable artists and artworks at this year's biggest art party, where no art is too naughty and no bar runs dry. 

Light My Fire, a new exhibition at the Art Gallery of Ontario points a portrait lens on the gallery's treasured collection of over 40,000 photographs. Alina Kulesh visits the exhibit and reports on the creative storytelling capacity of portrait photography.

From canvas to powerhouse, the modelling landscape is evolving and it's up to the professionals to keep up. Alina Kulesh explores how Web 2.0 culture is equalizing the runway.

The gates of the luxury fashion industry rarely open to those who knock. But with a couple of honorable mentions in trend-oriented publications and a pre-fall collection that speaks for itself, Roomeur already has its foot in the door. Alina Kulesh calls Roomeur as 2013's label to watch. 

Resort 2014 and S/S 2014 collections have flooded the fashion-scape in a sea of white. Attached to the colour are notions of romanticism, purity and innocence, but writer Alina Kulesh reveals its naughtier side.

Fashion has lived in Film for many decades, and now Film is rebirthing Fashion. Alina Kulesh explores how top haute couture houses are illustrating their personalities and moods through the expressive beauty of Film.

Even though it is not generally considered the sexiest colour, orange is on everybody's lips; from interior to graphic designers, orange is working its way into your living room and closet. 

Drawing inspiration from the unusual coupling of Byzantine art and the films of Italian filmmaker Federico Fellini, Dolce & Gabbana's A/W 2013-14 collection was dynamic and sinfully pleasurable. Alina Kulesh delves into a collection that was at once, wicked and genius.

When indie opera company, Against The Grain Theatre, approached Toronto-based couturier, Rosemarie Umetsu to design a "hipster" wedding gown, she turned to the devilish charms of Marie Antoinette for inspiration. Alina Kulesh chats with Umetsu about her creation.

He won the HEP Five Original Fashion Contest - Japan's most sought-after fashion competition - in 2010, and is a recent graduate from the Vantan Design Institute; Kei Tsunoji is definitely a name to keep an eye out for. The Genteel spoke with the up-and-coming designer for this week's Five x Five.

Jon Uriarte's head-turning photo series, "The Men Under The Influence…", features men wearing their girlfriends' or wives' outfits. Alina Kulesh looks beyond the pantyhose and bulging biceps, at the questions Uriarte's work raises about gender roles and sexuality stereotypes.

He is with sense and senseless. He is the man your father warned you about, and your mother secretly wishes you brought home. He is fearless and confident. Hypnotic and uninhibited. Refined. He is frank.

"No culture can live if it attempts to be exclusive," observed Mohandas Ghandi. The creation of the annual European Capital of Culture award has allowed one woman to leave her legacy and has given many others the opportunity to do the same. Alina Kulesh explores the importance of open and shareable culture through the European Capital of Culture initiative.

She's both the master and the student, with a question for every answer. She's clever, but not at the expense of others. She doesn't make a scene, and yet she's always remembered. Fierce, yet compassionate, she is frank. Meet her and her alter ego here.  

Ulyana Sergeenko's personal style and couture designs draw on elements from her Russian heritage. However, there is an ironic twist, as writer Alina Kulesh explains.

What are the secrets to getting through the most stressful week of the year? The Genteel sat down with Kimberley Newport-Mimran of Pink Tartan for a tête-à-tête to find out. 

Last year, Stacey McKenzie put her seasoned skills, major success and good heart to a great cause with the launch of her first "Walk This Way Workshops Camp" on July 8 2013. The Genteel pulled out this exciting Five x Five interview with McKenzie from the archives to look back on the good, the bad, and the ugly sides to the fashion and entertainment industry.

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