In With The Old, In With The New

By Emily Zoeller

The alchemy of age meets youth is a wonderful thing. In a time of smartphones, complicated coffee orders and TikTok dances, it’s no surprise generations feel apart from each other. But this does not stop taking inspiration from each other, grasping parts of the old and iconic to join with the new and innovative. The idea of turning one beautiful thing into another in the entertainment industry has become widely known, from artists forming bonds with young singers of different genres to re-incarnations of films with a totally different type of cast. So, what can we gather from the generation different to our own? Find out how many have done this here in In With The Old, In With The New.

Colliding icons, people who have been in one industry, or multiple at a time, with new stars rising in popularity have been growing with each decade of music. In the 70s, for example, there was a surge of Bowie fever. The artist released best-selling albums; songs considered iconic to this day and was even starting to act in films. The star had made his name in music, with his wild hair and makeup as well as eccentric performances. So when David Bowie was invited to perform a duet with legend Bing Crosby, the juxtaposing characters made history.

Bing Crosby has been in the music scene for years before Bowie. His unique singing style essentially paved the way for artists such as Elvis Presley and Frank Sinatra. He was a legend, an icon, starting off his music career in 1923. He knew his stuff, clearly, and for the likes of Bowie, an artist gaining more and more popularity in these years, it was an honour.

The two performed ‘Peace On Earth/Little Drummer Boy’ in 1977 on Bing Crosby’s show, many saying the performance was much more in Crosby’s style rather than Bowie’s. Crosby loved a challenge, and the duet itself was filmed after just an hour of rehearsing. The two learnt from each other, Bowie taking on a more Crosby-esque singing style and Crosby taking on the challenge of working with an artist so different to himself. The duet, to this day, is considered by The Washington Post as ‘one of the greatest duets in Christmas music history.’

It’s not just music where two worlds have collided, and you’d be surprised by some forces that have been joined. Take the sportswear brand Nike, no stranger to a good old fashion collaboration, but the company recently came together with the iconic Tiffany & Co, known for their jewellery and baby blue logo. How does a sports brand create a successful fusion with a luxury jewellery brand? Well, Nike has also kept their legendary symbol of the Nike Air Force (their tick emblem) mixing the original swoosh with the Tiffany Blue, with Tiffany releasing silver shoe horns, whistles and even toothbrushes.

It’s not new for a brand like Nike to collaborate with luxury, just like Supreme and Burberry. In fact, the brand also collaborated with Jacquemus and Comme Des Garcons before this. Yet these two iconic brands from different ends of the fashion industry spectrum have brought their recognisable features into one trainer, or accessory, stunning fans of both brands with what has come out to be a different but elevating way we can look at fashion and mixing two of the many sides of the industry.

Image by Phillip Pessar

The two brands learn from each other here. The old and well-known brands learning new concepts of fashion from each other can inspire many to do the same.

With music and fashion collaborating the old with the new, it’s only fair we delve into film: in 2021, the classic ‘West Side Story’ was reimagined by director Steven Spielberg, who is famous for the likes of Jaws (1975) and E.T (1982). Spielberg chose upcoming star 17-year-old Rachel Zegler to play the part of the protagonist Maria, who at the time did not have an agent: this was one of her first big acting debuts, and she charmed the iconic director.

The wise Spielberg, who had been in the industry for decades, helped the new actress find the appropriate representation and a friendship formed. The film ended up winning many awards, including an Oscar and BAFTA for Best Supporting Actress.

It doesn’t stop there. This year, The Woolmark Prize is up and running once again: a prize that celebrates upcoming fashion designers, showcasing the beauty of Australian Merino wool.

Every year there is a theme with this year’s being ‘Dialogue’. The Woolmark Company has teamed up with artist Joan Jonas, a pioneer of performance and visual art, as well as actress Taylour Paige, known for the film Zola (2020) and British musician Loyle Carner to reveal the designs in a short film.

Image of Loyle Carner, Courtesy of The Woolmark Prize

In a short film, the cast of young creatives embodies the idea of dialogue through movement, using props and rhythms along the coast of Marseilles.

Inspired by the re-staging of Joan Jonas’ beautiful performance of Delay Delay (1972), where the audience watched performers and dancers from a quarter of a mile away, assessing how distance affects our perception of action and sound.

The film features the looks of the eight finalists: A. ROEGE HOVE, Bluemarble, Lagos Space Programme, MARCO RAMBALDI, MAXXIJ, Paolina Russo, RHUDE and Robyn Lynch. Performers are seen showcasing these garments in the short film, directed by Partel Oliva.

The mix of these young upcoming creatives alongside the iconic artistic means of Joan Jonas, is a magnificent way of showcasing the designs in a unique and engaging way, using the likes of performance art, acting, musical talent and fashion.

The short film takes various elements of performance art and Delay Delay, seeing the models and performers wearing the designs of the finalists, clapping pieces of wood together, encapsulating each other in an embrace and running through hoops just like the performance in 1972.

It’s a contemporary outlook on the original art piece by Joan Jonas, incorporating the younger generation mixed with the iconic likes of the older generations’ wisdom in art.

By now the winners are announced. Lagos Space Programme has won The Woolmark Prize and A. ROEGE HOVE has won The Karl Lagerfeld Award for Innovation, at the 2023 International Woolmark Prize.

From iconic musicians, directors and labels, to upcoming actors, singers and brands, it’s fair to say generations can impact one another in ways that these people may have never thought about: the icons giving advice, the upcoming stars giving inspiration. It’s important as artists for people to learn from each other, to adapt and to grow as humans as well as creatives.

The winner of The Woolmark Prize will be announced on 15th May.

Check out The Woolmark Prize finalists here.

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