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CUT THE RIBBON: MARTHA GRAHAM

Posted on January 5, 2015 by Editorial Staff

Dance genius Martha Graham studied at the Denishawn School of Dancing and Related Arts before establishing the Martha Graham Centre of Contemporary Dance in 1926. Rejecting classical European ballet, she  searched in primitive societies the inspiration for her spiritual-like naturalistic moves she interpreted bare feet. Her innovative dance had, the most long-lasting influence on contemporary performance. Deeply influenced by the political climate, she could be considered the ‘Picasso of dance’. A woman who made her modern dance popular in a country she so strongly analysed and represented, creating a unique ‘American experience’.As she used to say : ‘nothing is more revealing than a movement.’

THE DUKE OF VERDURA

Posted on November 3, 2014 by Editorial Staff

Fulco di Santostefano della Cerda, Duke of Verdura, was a man destined to be a legend. Born in Sicily in 1899, he moved to France in 1927. While in Paris, he met Coco Chanel and designed for her fashion house a line of jewelry in precious stones. He became Chanel’s favorite. In 1937, he was in New York and designed jewelry for Hollywood stars: Greta Garbo, Katherine Hepburn, Joan Crawford. Not until 1937, he opened his first boutique in New York. Ten years later, his European atelier in Paris. In those years he met Salvador Dali, who encouraged him to design a surreal collection. Fulco’s creations were normally based on nature motifs. In the 1950s he created a series of seashells encrusted with gems. Gloria Swanson, Barbara Hutton, Diana Vreeland, Jackie Kennedy, Princess Grace of Monaco and the Duchess of Windsor were just a few of his more famous clients. His designs often featured in Vogue and other magazines. Despite such fame, he rarely sought publicity. Di Verdura was an exceptional visual artist. He never married. He died in London in 1978. He was survived by his family and his legacy: the tradition of a unique artisan.

 

CUT THE RIBBON, XAVIER ROBERTS

Posted on March 20, 2014 by Editorial Staff

The Cabbage Patch Kids frenzy of 1983 was to be the first of many holiday-season, toy frenzies in the years to come. In 1976, Xavier Roberts invented ‘Little Person’ dolls, the first Cabbage Patch Kids. Roberts and five friends started the Original Appalachian Artworks company to produce the dolls. The Coleco toy company liked Roberts’ ideas and began mass-marketing the dolls in 1983, under the new name of ‘Cabbage Patch Kids.’ By the end of the year, approximately three million Cabbage Patch Kids dolls had been “adopted.” In 1983, a Cabbage Patch Kids doll was a 16-inch doll, usually with a plastic head, a fabric body, and yarn hair. What made them so desirable, besides the fact that they were huggable, was both their supposed uniqueness and their adoptability. It was claimed that each Cabbage Patch Kids doll was unique. This plus the fact that inside each Cabbage Patch Kids box came a “birth certificate,” with that particular kid’s first and middle name on it, made the dolls as individual as the kids who wanted to adopt them. The dolls were a hit and Roberts really cut a ribbon!

CUT THE RIBBON, WILLIAM EGGLESTON

Posted on March 12, 2014 by Editorial Staff

william eggleston photographer

So who invented color photography? It’s William Eggleston, off course. Joking. Not that he invented anything, even if we really think that in a way he did, but this brilliant photographer born in Menphis in 1939, is widely credited with increasing recognition for color photography as a legitimate artistic medium to display in art galleries. And that’s not a small thing in a world where shooting in  black and withe was the only way for an artist to find his pictures exhibited in a gallery or a museum. Eggleston and his amazing colors, his democratic eye, his everyday life and objects: an ode to the “out of the blue” an example for hundreds of photographers that came after him. Eggleston’s work was exhibited for the first time at Washington  D.C.’s Corcoran Gallery and later at New York’s MoMA in 1976.  This exhibition came more or less 10 years  after MoMA had exhibited color photographs by Ernst Haas, but the tale that the Eggleston exhibition was MoMA’s first exhibition of color photography is frequently repeated and the 1976 show is regarded as a watershed moment in the history of photography, by marking “the acceptance of color photography by the highest validating institution”. Still alive and kicking, Eggleston is a Cut The Ribbon from his first photographs (in black and white) to his latest.

CUT THE RIBBON, JULIUS SäMANN

Posted on March 6, 2014 by Editorial Staff

 This story begins in the US. In 1952, a milk truck driver in Watertown, New York, USA, complains to a local chemist about the smell of spilled milk. That chemist is Julius “Jules” Sämann, who spent several years deep in the Canadian forests studying essential oils in evergreen trees and learning how to extract those oils from pine needles. After some research, Jules discovers a special formulation of fragrance which, when put on specialty material, is highly effective in killing unwanted odors and filling the air with fresh fragrance. Jules recognizes a great commercial opportunity. At this time, there are many air fresheners for the home, but not for cars and trucks. A small, unobtrusive hanging air freshener is exactly the right solution for vehicles.  Julius Sämann was a perfumist and chemist. He was mostly known for inventing many everyday items, but surely his great invention was that pine-tree-shaped air freshener. Known as WUNDER-BAUM® in Switzerland, the tree, with its special shape and peculiar scents started having different names all over the world. The brand has nowadays achieved “cult status” and the tree appears in many films, advertisements and TV shows. 

CUT THE RIBBON, SUSAN SEIDELMAN

Posted on February 27, 2014 by Editorial Staff

One of the brightest female independent film makers in the American cinema of the 80ies, if the not the sole. A director that spoke to her generation describing virtues and hysteria of the modern woman putting together different characters, make them fight, make them friends. The rich bored with her life, the independent and free girl. The beautiful successful against the ugly normal. Contrasts, every Susan Seidelman  film is a meeting of differences and a war between social classes that are supposed to not exist anymore. Born in 1952 in Philadelphia, Seidelman is maybe the only director to have the guts to cast a beautiful fresh, and almost unknown, Madonna. The success of Desperately Seeking Susan (1985) is something that goes behind expectations and set Madonna to stardom while Seidelman, who never had a commercial success before, continued working as an independent girl. And still she is, in her own way. After being the director of Sex And The City pilot, she focused on the aging of her 80ies beautiful women. Latest Seidelman’s projects are on them so check out link below.

http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0782384/

CUT THE RIBBON, JOHANN LUDWIG BURCKHARDT

Posted on February 20, 2014 by Editorial Staff

He was a Swiss orientalist, a traveler a disguised Muslim. He was  Johann Ludwig Burckhardt. Known for discovering the ruins of the city of Petra in Jordan. After studying in Leipzig, he visited England in the summer of 1806, carrying a letter of introduction from the naturalist Johann Friedrich Blumenbach to Sir Joseph Banks, who, with the other members of the African Association, accepted his offer to launch an expedition to discover the source of the River Niger. Burckhardt planned to study Arabic, in the belief that his journey to Africa would be facilitated if he was accepted as a Muslim. As preparation he briefly studied Arabic and prepared for his rigorous career as an explorer. Burckhardt needed to explain his desire to continue via a roundabout route through Wadi Musa, rather than the more direct route that avoided it and went through Aquaba. He used with his guides the excuse that he had made a vow to sacrifice a goat at the tomb of Aaron, on a nearby hill. Although his guide became suspicious, the explorer managed to make it by entring at the Siq, rock-cut tombs and theatre. The date was 22 August, 1812. Burckhardt was 27. What is perhaps most remarkable is that Burckhardt seems to have been aware of Petra from his knowledge of classical literature. He recognised the city simply from a description of its location. After completing this journey, he based himself in Cairo at the end of 1812. Burckhardt finally felt prepared to begin his expedition to the Niger. But just eleven  days later he was dead from dysentery at the age of 32. He was buried in a tomb in Cairo under the name Sheikh Ibrahim. 

CUT THE RIBBON, NERONE

Posted on February 12, 2014 by Editorial Staff

So when was it really? When did a human married, for the first time, a same sex human? Mesopotamia, that was the gayest place on earth but also in the ancient Assyrian society there were no problems with homosexual love and unions. Here at the Harlow, we were wondering, who did, really, celebrated the first gay marriage and we came across Svetonio’s memoir.  It was 10 A.D. and yes,  it was in Rome. How hilarious is that? One of the last countries to resist same sex marriage was the most tolerant long ago. Hilarious. But let’s go back to the cut of the ribbon:  it was Nerone that, deeply madly in love, married a beautiful boy named Sporo who, until marriage lasted, never left him and  followed him anywhere. Big love,  romantic trips, good time around Empire’s markets and shops.  Nerone, in public, was so tender with his soul mate that used to cover him with kisses. Then another cute guy named Doriforo came along and the marriage was broken. Some years later Emperors Costanzo and Costante stopped the game of same sex marriage with a law and suddenly the party was over for at least 1900 years. Nerone the modern, not only a pyromaniac. And cut!

CUT THE RIBBON, FLUORESCENT COLORS

Posted on February 6, 2014 by Editorial Staff

Pink, blue, green, orange, yellow. Vivid tones,  psychedelic colors. The subversive 80’s fashion, used and reused till nowadays. Fluorescent colors exist naturally with certain minerals, but it wasn’t until the 40s that those colors were developed so that they could be seen as vividly during the day as they could under an ultraviolet light. Ready to cut the ribbon? In 1656 Nicolas Monarde, a Spanish physician and botanist, published the Historia Medicinal de las cosas que se traen de nuestras Indias in which he describes the bluish opalescence of the water infusion from the wood of a small Mexican Tree. In 1612 Galileo Galilei desciberd the emission of light (phosphorescence) from a famous Bolognian stone. And so on and on and on. Bob and Joe Switzer, two brothers born in Montana and raised in California, experimented with fluorescent dyes and hot alcohol in the 1930s until they created what we now know as “Day-Glo” colors. Initially created to aid with magic tricks and other illusions, the new tints were quickly adopted by the military in World War II to send signals to airplanes from the ground, in lifeboats to promote visibility and for aircraft carrier crews to aid in landings. After that, the colors took off in all forms. When fluorescent materials are involved, the effect of color and fluorescence is not so straightforward. The reason fluorescent colors are so bright is that they are fluorescent. In other words they absorb light from one part of the spectrum and emit it at a higher wavelength. 

CUT THE RIBBON, THE ZIPPER

Posted on January 29, 2014 by Editorial Staff

Zipper, or zip for people living in UK, were originally called “clap locker” and invented in 1893 by Whitcomb L.Judson. This Canadian engineer, already famous for a pneumatic street railway, was also credited for creating an interlocking system made of metallic teeth that were able to unite and make one of a two pieces. Presented at the Chicago World’s fair in the same year, this invention immediately grabbed attention and lead to “Universal Fastener”, a company located in Hoboken New Jersey that officially started mass production. With many  years of hard work, this fundamental invention improved ang got perfect also thank to genius business man Gideon Sundeck . Sensational, innovative, simple:  a non expensive item imagined to resolve big issues, to unite and separate, to close or open, to keep it together. Clothing, luggage, camping, sportswear: zipper is everywhere since the beginning of 900. It haven’t loose any importance since then and it’s sill used for low quality productions as well as “haute couture” ones. Fashion just owe a lot to Mr. Judson. Just imagine your day without zippers and you’ll understand how “Cut the Ribbon” this invention is. Imagine also an Azzedine Alaïa’s dress without it, or the fantastic leather jacked pictured above with no interlocking closures. Would it be that sexy? Just thank the Canadian Engineer, and cut.

Model Clement Chabernaud in  Balmain homme FW09 collection.

 

CUT THE RIBBON, KATHRINE SWITZER

Posted on January 22, 2014 by Editorial Staff

Kathrine Virginia “Kathy”, ribbon cutter and of course, runner. She has run 35 marathons, winning NYC’s 1974 edition. She is best known as the first woman to run the Boston Marathon as a numbered entry. During her college years, she in fact,  entered and completed the race, five years before women were officially allowed to compete. She registered under the gender-neutral “K. V. Switzer”, which she later insistsed, was not done in an attempt to mislead the officials. She claimed to have long used “K. V. Switzer” to sign the articles she wrote for her college paper. Jock Semple, official,  attempted to physically remove her from the race but Switzer’s boyfriend, at that time Tom Miller, who was running with her, shoved the official aside. The photographs taken of the incident made world headlines. As a result of her run, the AAU barred women from all competition with male runners but Switzer, with other women runners, tried to convince the Boston Athletic Association to allow women to participate in the marathon. Finally, in 1972, women were welcome to run the Boston Marathon officially for the first time ever.

CUT THE RIBBON, THE CHEWING GUM

Posted on January 15, 2014 by Editorial Staff

How many did you chew in your life? Chewing gum, can you imagine your life without it? From being a candy to be a treatment. In our days chewing gums are sugar free, they can contain substances in order to  prevent cavities or can help your health:  vitamins, herbal extract,  spices everything can be spread with  an “American gum”. Chewing  indeed had been a statement of freedom for many generations and a sign of modernity, efficiency  and coolness.  Forbidden in posh places and fancy dinners, chewing gum remains an ever green product present all around the world. But who’s the one who cut the ribbon for this invention? Basically North American Indians:  if they wouldn’t have chewed the sap from spruce trees and passed the habit along it would had been difficult for  John B. Curtis , in 1848, to make the first commercial chewing gum called the “State of Maine Pure Spruce Gum”. Two years later  Curtis improved his creation by adding some paraffin and flavors opening the road to many other inventors that added long lasting aromas  and discovered  the infamous ” Tutti-Frutti” that became the first chewing gum  to be sold in a vending machine. Bubble gum came later in 1906, while mint flavor is a 1914 invention by William Wrigley. In 1928 Walter Diemer invented the successful pink colored Double Bubble, bubble gum. POF!

 

CUT THE RIBBON, THE MULLET

Posted on January 8, 2014 by Editorial Staff

It has never been clear who actually designed or invented the Mullet, but it was first documented around late Roman times. Most of Rome invaders, those who sacked the city, were actually outfitted with a Mullet. Roman soldiers weren’t allowed to cut their hair in this way as the hairdo, at the time it was considered unfashionable. This weird shaped haircut, with business attitude at the front and party in the back became a must in the’80s. It became popular by Canadian hockey players. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the term Mullet was used to describe this hairstyle “apparently coined, and certainly popularized, by U.S. hip-hop group the Beastie Boys”, who used “Mullet” and “Mullet head” as epithets in their 1994 song “Mullet Head”. Was it Mike D who invented it then? In 1995, the Beastie Boys’ magazine Grand Royal was the first to use the term in print, but still it is known that in the sixth century, Byzantine scholar Procopius wrote that some factions of young males wore their hair long at the back and cut it short over the forehead. This non-Roman style was termed the ‘Hunnic’ look. By all this way, Mullets were sported by rock stars like David Bowie or Paul McCartney as far back as the early 1970s. We all do remember Andre Agassi too. Ever since, the Mullet has been a way of life, a state of mind. Ready for a haircut?

CUT THE RIBBON, NINA SIMONE

Posted on December 18, 2013 by Editorial Staff

For unforgettable music she left us, for her civil rights battles and marches with Martin Luther King. For her two careers in one; she left it  in 1978 and disappeared. Then, due to a Chanel advertising that brought back on charts “My Baby Don’t Love Me”, she had some few more years. For her no diva approach, for her unique life made of good and bad, for concerts where she used to introduce “her music” with her own words. “Her music”, as she declared in several interviews, was the most important thing. Then there was love, not marriage of course, she was twice, but love. Born in North Carolina in 1933 under the name of Eunice Kathleen Waymon, she started singing in the local church with her two sisters. It took not much time to everybody in her small town community to understand that Eunice was gifted. She was so talented to deserve a proper course of studies in New York City. Her neighbors promoted a foundation and managed to collect money in order to make her flying. In 50ies she was paying one’s dues as a nightclub singer and changed her name in honor of actress Simone Signoret that she adored. In 1958 Simone’s debut album. In 1968, after King’s and Kennedy’s assassination she left Us and settle down in Barbados, Egypt, Holland and Switzerland. After this betrayal nobody were publishing her records any longer but she kept on composing and playing piano until the very last days of her life. Simone left not only her music but examples, not only Jazz but hope for a better life to African American. A cut the ribbon for this complex, yet genius persona, was compulsory here at The Harlow.

 

CUT THE RIBBON, ALFRED NOYER (OR JULIAN MANDEL?)

Posted on December 12, 2013 by Editorial Staff

Alfred Noyer, or Julian Mandel,  was a signature name, and surely the pseudonym related to the  identity of one the best-known commercial photographers of female nudes of the early twentieth century. Known in the 1910s, the mid-1930s, his picture portrayed models in classical poses, photographed both in studio and outdoors. Images are composed artfully, with exquisite tones and soft use of lighting, showing a particular texture created by light rather than shadow. Mandel was a member of the German avant-garde, featuring natural settings, skin tones, roughness of nature vs. beauty of human beings. The nude photographs were in a postcard-sized format, but as “A Brief History of Postcards” explains, “A majority of the French nude postcards were called postcards because of the size. They were never meant to be postally sent. It was illegal to send such images in the post”.  The size enabled them to be placed readily into jacket pockets, packages, and books. There is a belief nowadays that Julian Mandel was the pseudonym of Julian Walery, a well known photographer of the same period, still, he cut a huge ribbon!

CUT THE RIBBON, DAME ELIZABETH

Posted on December 4, 2013 by Editorial Staff

On  the occasion of the World Aids Day, occurred on the 1st of December, our Cut The Ribbon is all for dearest, lamented and missed Elizabeth Taylor. Dame Elizabeth Taylor, born in Hampstead in 1932, had a fantastic Hollywood career, we all know that. She was a great actress also called “Queen of Hollywood with no ego” or “the most democratic soul” of Hollywood” due to her simple attitude and her love for “people”. When Aids made its appearance in the very first 80ies, fear was everywhere and people linked to people that were developing this disease where everything but showing their support in public. And do you want to know who was the first person in the entertainment industry to stand up and take charge when few were willing to listen? Dame Elizabeth. Since then, Taylor has remained the symbol of the battle and for this reason she was named the “Joan of Arc of AIDS.” Founder of the American Foundation For Aids (amfar.org) she helped raising 50 million dollars until 1999 … and if this terrible illness is, 35 years later, somehow considered “acceptable” in a way, it’s also because of this solid woman, mother, Hollywood goddess. Her willing to help will always remain legendary.

“I have to show up because it galvanizes people. [They] know . . . I’m not there to sell or gain anything. I’m there for the same reason they are: to get something done.”

CUT THE RIBBON, LE CROQUE-MONSIEUR!

Posted on November 27, 2013 by Editorial Staff

Be ready because this Cut The Ribbon is yummy. It’s about the Croque-Monsieur (aka, the Crunch Mister)! If you put grilled ham and cheese (Emmental or Gruyère) together, add some béchamel sauce and use good and soft bread, the result is a typical French sandwich. There’s not a name to whom this invention can be appointed to, there’s rather a place. In fact, this particular sandwich’s first recorded appearance happened in a Parisian café of Boulevard de Capucines 1 in 1910. A croque-monsieur served with a fried egg or poached egg on top would be later known as a croque-madame (but this is another story). In times the croque monsieur would have different names: in English ham and cheese toast in America, the Monte Cristo or in Spain the bikini! The origins of the word, however, remains unknown, the most common being a joke that the meat inside the sandwich was human flesh. The croque-monsieur would even become such a hit that even Marcel Proust mentioned it in “In the shadow of young girls in flower” in 1919 : “Now , coming out of the concert, as , by taking the path that goes to the hotel , we stopped for a moment on the dike my grandmother and me to exchange a few words with Madame de Villeparisis which announced that she had ordered for us at the hotel croque -monsieur and eggs and cream … “. Aren’t you hungry yet? We are!

CUT THE RIBBON, SOLITA SOLANO

Posted on November 20, 2013 by Editorial Staff

For her funny and particular Spanish-Italian sounding nickname, she was born Sarah Wilkinson in Troy-New York, in 1888. For her signature bob and red lipstick. For her adventurous years in the Philippines, in China and Japan where her husband was working as an engineer. For her career as a writer with 3 unsuccessful books and the one she started as a theater critic for the New York Tribune. For her freelance contributions to the National Geographic Society and The New Yorker under the name of Genêt. For her love for Paris and her friends, the intellectual-lesbian circles of Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas, Natalie Clifford Barney, Romaine Brooks and Djuna Barnes. For being a trustworthy and superb editor  of Anderson and Hulme’s books. For being a secretary for Armenian philosopher and writer Georges Ivanovič Gurdjieff. For being incredibly powerful and being photographed by the best of her years. For having a complete life where she tried everything. For these reasons and many more, Solita Solano is a whole Cut The Ribbon.

VERMOUTH, THE PLEASURE OF DRINKING

Posted on November 13, 2013 by Editorial Staff

He didn’t cut a ribbon, he sipped it! In 1786, Antonio Benedetto Carpano invented the commercial model for what we know today as red vermouth, possibly even coining the term “vermuth.” The Carpano brand, Turin based,  was formalized some years later by Carpano’s nephews. The red vermouths of subsequent producers, such as Cinzano and Gancia or Martini, were their own riffs on what Carpano first successfully marketed. A contemporary expression of the product that was Carpano’s original commercial vermouth is nowadays still existing. The Vermouth was made from white wine added to an infusion of herbs and spices in more than 30 varieties. It was sweetened with spirit, which he believed would be a more suitable beverage for ladies than the local red wines. Inspired by a German wine fortified with wormwood, an herb most famously used in distilling absinthe. Carpano gave bartenders a range of options in making drinks, formalizing Turin as capital of the Royal Italian Family and of aperitif! 

CUT THE RIBBON, JOHN HARVEY KELLOGG

Posted on October 29, 2013 by Editorial Staff

He was an American doctor, he ran a sanitarium using holistic methods he was mad with nutrition, with exercise, with vegetarianism and with the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Dr. John Harvey Kellogg frequently held a prominent role as a speaker at church meetings and promoted a practical, common sense religion. The Sanitarium he run was based on the church’s health principles, believing  in a vegetarian diet, abstinence from alcohol, tobacco and a regimen of strict exercise. Kellogg believed that most diseases would be alleviated by a change in intestinal flora, by a well-balanced vegetarian diet favoring low-protein, laxatives, and high-fiber foods. He also was an advocate of sexual abstinence, devoting large amounts of his educational and medical work to discouraging sexual activity. He was an especially zealous against masturbation. Today John Kellogg is best known for the invention of the corn flake, which spawned the breakfast cereal industry and revolutionized how people eat in the mornings. However although his long lasting life (he died at 91) he cut many ribbons. A century ago there were no canned foods and little refrigeration. There were no antibiotics or wonder drugs to fight infection. He thus developed with his brother a new food that could respect the rules of a strict vegetarian diet. The flakes of grain, served with milk , soon became a very popular food among the patients , so that Kellogg brothers began to experiment with the recipe with other grains .In 1906, Kellogg’s company was founded The Rice Krispies, his great success, that went on sale for the first time in 1929. Now you know…there’s a huge story beneath your morning bowl!

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CUT THE RIBBON, VIRGINIA PRINCE

Posted on October 24, 2013 by Editorial Staff

How would you define a pioneer of human rights and transgenderism? How would you call one of the very first persons that came out of the shade, in late 50ies, and started a battle for her position in modern society? A Cut The Ribbon, don’t you? Here is Virginia Prince, American, born in Los Angeles 1913, also called Virginia Charles Prince. Arnold Bowman, her orginal name,  was a transgender that began cross dressing at the age of twelve and knew how it was to be treated as a clown with no rights and just offenses. Prince’s career in transgender education began in 1961 when she was prosecuted for distributing obscene materials through the US Mail because she had exchanged sexually explicit letters with another cross dresser. She was given probation and was forbidden to dress as a woman. The Society for The Second Self movement and magazine called Transvesta,  were born right after those unpleasant, and extreme, episodes. Where was freedom? The resolute Virginia was a fighter: credited for the invention of  transgender as a term to refer to a person who lives full-time in a gender that is different from the one identified at birth, this sharp women stand for the right to be herself until she was 96 years old. To her, cross dressing was not an option or a fetish as many psychiatrist asserted. It was a display of identity and character. Say thanks to Virginia, and cut the ribbon.

CUT THE RIBBON, PHILIPPE PETIT

Posted on October 16, 2013 by Editorial Staff

More than 30 years ago, on August the 7th 1974, Philippe Petit, after illegally rigging a tightrope between the Twin Towers of N.Y.’s World Trade Center,  spent nearly an hour dancing in mid-air. It was an adventure which was captured in the Oscar winning film Man on Wire. The movie title was taken from the police report that led to the arrest (and later release) of Petit. ‘There’s a man on wire!’. On that night Petit and his crew were able to ride in a freight elevator to the 104th floor with their equipment and store all the elements they needed. Shortly after Petit stepped off the South Tower and onto his steel cable. He walked on wire for 45 minutes, making eight crossings between the towers, a quarter of a mile above the sidewalks of Manhattan. In addition to walking, he sat on the wire, gave knee salutes and, while lying on the wire, spoke with a gull circling above his head. As soon as Petit was observed by witnesses on the ground, the Police Department dispatched officers to take him. The tightrope ‘dancer’ performance cut a great ribbon and made headlines around the world. When asked why he did that, Petit would say, “When I see three oranges, I juggle, when I see two towers, I walk.”

CUT THE RIBBON, JOSEPH ETTEDGUI

Posted on October 9, 2013 by Editorial Staff

Born in Casablanca in 1936, Joseph Ettedgui, usually known as Joseph, started his career as an hairdresser opening his salon in London King’s road in 1960. The swinging London was booming and this smart, yet creative man, was enjoying his life. Changing , completely, one person’s look in one hour it was a mission to him. But his great passion was fashion and he started to go to Paris fashion weeks to see the ready to wear collections where he met Japanese designer Kenzo Takada, usually known as Kenzo, and they started a business collaboration. Joseph started to sell Kenzo’s multicolored jumpers in his salon: it was an immediate success and the beginning of Joseph “the retailer”, the fashion patron, the mentor of many designers. Galliano, Hamnett, Howell and Alaia, they were not only marvelously displayed in Joseph’s boutique but they were also taken care, advised and beloved as kids. Joseph way of merchandising was very special. His windows displays were always exceptional and his way of working, to us, was located between that special point where fashion fun meet the everyday life. Credited to be one of the best retailers ever lived, Jospeh seemed a whole “Cut The Ribbon” to us. Because everybody can sell, but few can really change the way people needs clothes and help fashion in his never ending mutation process.

 

CUT THE RIBBON, LET THEM WEAR TOWELS!

Posted on October 3, 2013 by Editorial Staff

Many women played hard to win something, equality, respect, acceptance or just first place. This week’s cut the ribbon is not dedicated to just one person, it’s dedicated to all those women who, being  journalists, sports journalists, have fought for their place, for their rights, for equity. The courage and perseverance of women like Melissa Ludtke, Claire Smith, Lesley Visser, Christine Brennan, Lisa Olson and Robin Herman,  standing up for their rights, fighting for access and yes, entering and being allowed in men locker rooms. Women who broke down a huge professional barrier. Robin Herman, for instance, was the first female sports reported of the NY times to be allowed to access to athletes in the postgame locker room unexpectedly in 1975. 35 years ago postgame interviews were allowed only to men. This year’s documentary, LET THEM WEAR TOWELS, has been dedicated to this issue. The Harlow recommends the vision…“It was important to be bold. It was a matter of equity.”

http://espn.go.com/espnw/video/9468050/exclusive-clip-let-wear-towels

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CUT THE RIBBON, DIANE VON FURSTENBERG

Posted on September 25, 2013 by Editorial Staff

Diane Von Furstemberg was born in Belgium from a Romanian father and a Greek mother who was an Holocaust survivor. Just 18 months before Diane was born, Liliane Nahmias was imprisoned in Auschwitz. “Fear is not an option” that’s what her mother used to say and that’s what the little Diane put in practice, for all her life. Very first example of working girl, wife to a Prince from which she wanted to  be economically independent, Von Furstemberg has not only shown to the world that healthy principles girls could survive everything –  Studio 54, financial crisis, divorces and the supremacy of men in fashion world – but they could also run enormous businesses and share wealth with others. Her ” The Diller Foundation” provides philanthropic support to the community building, education, arts, health and environment. If you now can walk thorough the “High Line”, that beautiful New York garden constructed on an abandoned railroad, it’s also because of the 20 million dollars donation that The Driller made (the largest single private contribution to a public park in New York City’s history). But Diane also sits on the board of Vital Voices, a women’s leadership organization that empowers emerging women leaders and social entrepreneurs around the world (she is honorary director of the Housatonic Valley Association). In 2010 she created The DVF Awards to support four women who displayed leadership, strength, and courage in their commitment to women’s causes. And for those who are skeptic about this super Cut The Ribbon(s), Dolly Parton’s 1981 song “Working Girl” is dedicated to…guess who?


CUT THE RIBBBON: ANDRE ROUSSIMOFF aka ANDRE THE GIANT

Posted on September 17, 2013 by Editorial Staff

This week’s protagonist wouldn’t cut a ribbon, he would smash it! For two decades (60s-80s), Andre the Giant was the highest paid professional wrestler in the business and a household name across the world. Known as ‘Giant’ or ‘Boss’,  his real name was Andre Roussimoff, born in France from Russian immigrants. After his birth he was diagnosed with acromegaly, which caused his body to over-produce growth hormones. As a result, since his birth, Andre never stopped to grow. Knows as a big good man, he loved two things: wrestling and booze. People would say his drinking was of mythic proportions. As famous as Andre was in the US, he was even bigger in Japan.  His wrestling match were the most seen, the best paid. When ill health forced Andre to largely quit wrestling in the late ‘80s, he accepted the role of Fezzik in Rob Reiner’s movie The Princess Bride. Mr. Roussimoff was also in  the Guinness Book of World Records, not for his size but for the world record of the largest number of beers consumed in a single sitting. Officially crowned “The Greatest Drunk on Earth” it even happened that once, Andre passed out in a hotel bar in Pennsylvania, and because the staff could not move him, they had to leave him there until he regained consciousness. Andre died in his sleep due to congestive heart failure on January 27 1993 in a Paris hotel room. He was there to attend the funeral of his father. His body was cremated and his ashes scattered at his ranch in Ellerbe, North Carolina. Sorry Hulk, you won that match, but Andre was THE GIANT!

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CUT THE RIBBON, ADRIANO OLIVETTI

Posted on September 12, 2013 by Editorial Staff

It’s so good to write about great Italian companies like Olivetti was. It make us proud of being born in this, now messy, country. Very proud of having such an amazing Cut The Ribbon. Founded in Ivrea in 1908 by Camillo Olivetti as a small laboratory specialized in electrical instruments, the company soon obtained a success only comparable to the other big Italian industry which was Fiat (founded just 10 years before). Adriano, son to Camillo, succeeded to his father in 1932 but not only for his successful imprint he gave to Olivetti  he is a cut the ribbon. He off course participated in creating the very first calculating machine able of printing on paper, he also supervised signature writing machines production,  but also because he was totally against fascism, a tireless test driver and a passionate believer of a new kind of  industrial development that can be  harmonized with affirmation of human rights. He believed in democracy, inside and out the factory. Under the impulse of his business fortunes and his community ideal, Ivrea in the fifties gathered an extraordinary quantity of intellectuals that operated in different disciplinary fields pursuing the project of a creative synthesis between technical-scientific culture and humanistic culture. Olivetti believed also that it was possible to create an equilibrium between social solidarity and profit and his idea of a collective happiness that produced efficiency still remains a model for contemporary companies. Not so many years after his death, Olivetti, the company, launched the very personal computer on the market. Type it on your vintage “Lettera 32”, the genius of Olivetti.

CUT THE RIBBON: MARIA FéLIX, LA DOñA!

Posted on September 4, 2013 by Editorial Staff

Mexican actress, icon, leading lady of the Golden Age of Mexican cinema. She was commonly known, particularly in her later years, by the honorific La Doña. Strong temperament , María Félix was discovered by businessman Fernando Palacios in Mexico City while walking in the street. The Calderón Brothers, famous film makers in Mexico, led her to Hollywood. She worked in the US, Spain, France, she married three times but she had just one child. She also had several unmarried partners, including the painter Diego Rivera who in 1949, painted a portrait of her. She later classified as “muy malo” (“really bad”). In fashion, La Doña was dressed by designers like Christian Dior, Givenchy, Yves Saint Laurent, Chanel and Balenciaga. The House of Hermès designed extravagant creations just for her. She was a noted collector of fine antiques, favoring pieces like her famous collection of Second French Empire furniture. She was also a jewellery connoisseur and had an extensive jewelry collection .In 1968, she commissioned a serpent diamond necklace from Cartier Paris as she loved reptiles. The result was a completely articulated serpent made out of platinum and white gold and encrusted with 178.21 carats of diamonds. Continue Reading →

CUT THE RIBBON, MISSY-MATHILDE DE MORNY

Posted on August 28, 2013 by Editorial Staff

Colette used to write her letters , lots of letters. “My Beloved Velvet” she wrote at the beginning of every single of it  but Velvet was also known as Missy, or Monsieur le Marquis, or Le Chevalière, or Oncle Max. She was born  Mathilde de Morny in 1863 and she was the last daughter of Duc de Morny, brother of Napoleon the third. She was a rebel, she needed to change her name and body for her entire life. In the beginning Mathilde tried hard to be “normal” and married Jaques Godart, le Marquis Belbeuf, in 1881,  but it didn’t succeed (she divorced few years later). At that time, a woman in love with another woman, was no surprise and was quite well accepted. It was fashionable, it was really “Belle Epoque”. But Missy, Missy she was wearing a business suit, short hair and she was a cigar chain smoker . Missy underwent  an  hysterectomy and removed her breast. Missy was  viril, strong  and rich and served as  Pygmalion to many women in Paris including her love-friend Colette for which she bought Villas, produced comedies and made folies. Missy, beloved Missy, she was everything but common. Missy that  tried to be a sculptor, a writer and a painter. Missy, that in 1907 , under the anagram of Yssim, acted with Colette in a Pantomime called Rêve d’Égypte” at the Moulin Rouge. Missy, never frightened, never scared, always ready to be herself. Missy that in the end of May 1944 tried to commit hara-kiri but was saved. Missy, her wealthy was gone and she dyed on June 29, 1944 by putting her head in the gas stove oven. Did she cut some ribbons? She cut boundaries not only ribbons. She lived wild and proud. She was Missy.

CUT THE RIBBON, ARCHIBALD J. CRONIN

Posted on August 21, 2013 by Editorial Staff

Scottish novelist, an accomplished storyteller, A. J. Cronin practised as a doctor over a decade before devoting himself entirely to writing. Cronin gained his fame initially with ‘Hatter’s Castle’ (1931), and later produced several bestsellers drawing from his experiences as a doctor. Archibald Joseph Cronin was born in Cardross, and spent  a shadowed childhood by the death of his father and poverty. His mother tried to struggle forward alone but in 1914 he entered the Glasgow University Medical School and graduated as a doctor. During World War I Cronin served as a surgeon in the Royal Navy, becoming a sub-lieutenant and after the war he worked as a ship’s surgeon on a liner bound for India, and then served in various hospitals. Cronin continued to write until he was in his eightieth year. In 1921 he married his early love, Agnes Mary Gibson, left Scotland and moved with his wife, who was also a doctor, to a small mining town in South Wales. There the couple spent three years. Cronin was awarded his D.Ph. in 1923 and the next year, appointed Medical Inspector of Mines. At this time, he continued his studies, researching occupational diseases in the coal industry. These experiences formed the basis of the novels and bestsellers   and The Citadel (1937), which made Cronin famous. It is in fact thanks to these novels that a basis of the English National Health Service was created. The Stars Look Down was a socially charged novel, which examined injustices in a North England mining community. A very important cut of the ribbon.  

CUT THE RIBBON, ARTORIA GIBBONS

Posted on July 15, 2013 by Editorial Staff

What a ribbon! A Tattoo attraction that worked for 35 years in circus and carnival sideshows! Artoria Gibbons was the stage name for Mrs. Anne Gibbons. Born in Wisconsin from poor parents, by the age of 14 she decided to leave home and while hanging around a local carnival sideshow she met Red Gibbons, tattoo artist and joined him in his ramblings. Artoria’s tattoos were amazing: magnificent reproductions of paintings by Raphael and Michelangelo and a few patriotic designs. Charles “Red” Gibbons was one of the best tattooists of his generation and there was no better example of his skill than his beautiful wife Anne (who used the stage name Artoria). Carrying on in the grand tradition that goes back to the 1800’s, a tattooist would tattoo his wife thus making her “his calling card” for his tattooing ability. The tattoo art on Artoria’s body was so beautiful and she was such a looker  to receive a lot of attention in sideshows. Red Gibbons died on June 18, 1964, Artoria in 1985. Their daughter Charlene is now in the process of writing a book about her famous parents, a tribute to the ‘finest in tattooing’ and show-business life. In fact, little has been written on the lives and careers of many tattooists and tattooed attractions of the past. 

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CUT THE RIBBON, ISABELLA ROSSELLINI

Posted on July 8, 2013 by Editorial Staff

Isabella is a cut the ribbon for many reasons.For being a model with a different attitude and a normal body. For being the best, and long lived, cosmetic ambassador. For being a famous surname that established her personality no matter what they had been saying. For being loyal with her roots and history. For being involved in so many good causes, from animals to sexual education. For being the image of a different Italian in New York and for loving,truly loving, photography. For this picture by photographer James Balog that she commented in her book “Looking At Me” . “In the pictures Balog wanted to do a photographic essay on the differences and similarities between man (me) and our closest relative, the chimpanzee…Yet in these photographs I seem to come across as a contemporary woman. I wonder how that was possible when I was naked and wearing no make up. I really don’t know what betrays my attempt to be timeless – maybe it’s just that stupid haircut”.

 

CUT THE RIBBON GUNPEI YOKOI

Posted on July 1, 2013 by Editorial Staff

Gunpei Yokoi began working at Nintendo in 1965, right after he graduated from Doshisha University with a degree in electronics. Yokoi spent many years developing toys and once the company shifted its focus to video-games development, he was asked to develop new ideas for the market. After seeing a businessman playing with his calculator, Yokoi conceived the Game and Watch handheld concept. The Game & Watch product line went on to feature 59 different titles, including classics like Mario Bros or Donkey Kong. Ever since he has been known as a legendary and highly influential figure not just in Nintendo history, but in the history of the video games industry as a whole.

His, was a life dedicated to inventions,his most famous one was the revolutionary Game Boy, a portable video game station. People who worked with him would describe him as an astonishing personality of humble origins, pioneer in inventions that changed the face of the video game industry. At Nintendo, Gunpei Yokoi was one of the company’s most beloved and respected employees. A jovial, easy-going guy who loved British cars. He died of a car crash in 1997 in an unfortunate accident just outside the Nintendo headquarters.

CUT THE RIBBON, GRACE MIRABELLA

Posted on June 24, 2013 by Editorial Staff

Not true that normal gets you nowhere. Grace Mirabella served as editor in chief at Vogue between 1971 and 1988 after the reign of Diana Vreeland. The magazine was not going well at that time , her predecessor was misfire and loosing appeal and years were changing, budgets were reduced. Opulence was out of fashion, the country was living a recession, women were hitting the streets to protest against Vietnam or for feminist causes. Women’s “dream” fashion magazine needed to follow up its readers and Mirabella was simply the right person. Born from parents of Italian descent, father was a gambler addict while mother was a feminist, Mirabella entered Conde Nast in 1950.  At that time, Vogue headquarters were not a democratic nor equal place, it was  a crawl for unpaid wealthy girls only but  as a young assistant coming from a lower class, Mirabella cut off for her strong and witty attitude and made a career adopting the less is more philosophy: she were convinced that people were tired of “fashion” and needed clothes. For that reason, she is responsible for creating the image of a generation of women called “business women” as she saw fashion as a way to show evidence that a woman can rise in power. There weren’t so many ribbons in what Mirabella was featuring in Vogue during those years as editor in chief, but if you pay attention to what she did during her short period there , you will see she cut many, literally. And still, in a way, she is what fashion needed in those time and maybe needs now. As the pendulum come and goes, sometimes it’s better to be grounded. And that’s where the genius of Mirabella was.

CUT THE RIBBON, HOWARD LUCK GOSSAGE

Posted on June 17, 2013 by Editorial Staff

He was one of advertising’s masters. He was a true original and unique creative mind. His Agency operated in San Francisco from late fifties till sixties. He was a rule breaker used to work with big industry names and huge budgets, but despite that, he never did a TV commercial and was famous for turning down clients in order to keep his business small and ethic. He made a silent revolution creating adverts that were never repetitive but unique and entertaining where potential clients were considered everything but passive subjects. Howard Luck Gossage is also credited to be the first person on earth to be using the word “interactive”. 

The real fact of the matter is that nobody reads ads. People read what interest them, and sometimes it’s an ad”.

 

CUT THE RIBBON, ESTHER JANE WILLIAMS

Posted on June 10, 2013 by admin

She really did cut a watery ribbon! Esther Jane Williams, the million dollar star, the competitive swimmer and movie actress. Known for her beauty, class and swimming records, she was queen of acqua musicals, featuring in many elaborate performances of synchronized swimming and diving. Williams was enthusiastic about swimming in her youth and when she became an actress, elaborate aquatic sets were in fact built for her. Williams’s fame and her scant clothing, led her to see the machinery of Hollywood sharply, the lust, the greed, the vanity. Named “The Mermaid” by Clarke Gable, she was also known for being the queen of Hollywood’s gossip. Her 1999 memoir, The Million Dollar Mermaid, she dished the dirt as few others had, by being shameless, and shamelessly funny. We will all miss her badly. She is survived by her family and by us all, a sparkling star of the real Golden Hollywood era.

“I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t in a swimsuit.  There were all those hours and weeks and years of competitive swimming-and magic movie swimming” Esther 

CUT THE RIBBON, ISABELLA BLOW

Posted on June 3, 2013 by admin

Isabella the icon, the English magazine editor, the muse of hat designer Philip Treacy, the talent detector of Stella Tennant, Sophie Dahl, as well as Alexander McQueen. Isabella Blow, Anna Wintour’s assistant and later Andre Leon Talley’s, friend to Andy Warhol and Jean Michel Basquiat. When in 1986 she returned to London (from NYC) she became fashion director of Tatler and the Sunday Times Style magazine. Isabella and her idiosyncratic wardrobe, her styling career. Isabella’s inimitable personality and the epic legacy she left behind when in 2007 she committed suicide. Her  extensive personal collection of clothes, her love of eccentric hats, her distinctive, eclectic style  which made her become fashion’s editor and eventually fashion director at Tatler. “Isabella…made our world more vivid, trailing color with every pace she took. It is a sorrier place for her absence. When I visited her beloved clothes in a storage room in South Kensington, it seemed quite clear the collection would be of immense value to a great many people.  Daphne Guinness – best friend. What other elements do you need to call her a ribbon cutter? 

CUT THE RIBBON, ISTITUTO LUCE

Posted on May 27, 2013 by admin

This cut the ribbon is not dedicated to a person but to an very important Institution  that recorded and preserved some years of Italian life. A very important archive that despite it’s political intent, was a fortune for historians and students. Hours and hours of movies, news, documentaries from all parts of Italy and world, an immense and complete photo-graphical archive: the life of poor people working on fields, the new industry, the monarchy, the war as long as Hollywood stars  getting off archaic planes arriving in Rome to promote their movies.  Istituto Luce was the most ancient Italian film diffusion company and it was founded in 1924 with the intent of promoting education through illiterate people, at the time, a huge part of the population. After 90 years, the political propaganda gets irrelevant if not ridiculous and what’s more intriguing is the beauty of this black and white chronicle of a world that is not existing anymore. The way we were is still available online for everyone who’s interested in seeing and understanding that sometimes, from very bad things, something good can remain.

http://www.archivioluce.com/archivio/

 

 

CUT THE RIBBON, PEDRO FLORES

Posted on May 20, 2013 by admin

Donald F. Duncan was the co-patent genius behind the promotion the first Yo-Yo. Though Duncan was not the inventor of the yoyo. This game was considered the second oldest toy in history, the oldest being the doll. In ancient Greece it was made of wood, metal and terra cotta. Around 1800, the yoyo moved into Europe from the Orient. The British called the yoyo the bandalore, or the Prince of Wales toy. The French used the name incroyable or l’emigrette. However the name comes from Tagalog, the native language of the Philippines. It means “come back”. In the Philippines, the yoyo was used as a weapon for over 400 hundred years. The man who invented the Yoyo and cut the ribbon is actually Pedro Flores. He is the first yo-yo maker in the US. Born in Vintar, Philippines he came to the United States in 1915. While working as a bellboy, Flores read an article about a self-made millionaire who made his money by selling a ball attached to a rubber band. At this point he remembered the yo-yo, a game which has been played for hundreds of years in the Philippines. Flores thus saw a good market opportunity. Between 1928 and 1932, Flores started and ran the Yo-yo Manufacturing Company in Santa Barbara before selling the company and trademark to Duncan who continued to market and sell Flores yo-yos alongside the Duncan line. Flores never personally claimed to have invented the yo-yo, always mentioning its past history as a centuries old Philippine game. Duncan, the smart entrepreneur bought the company from Flores, acquiring not only a unique toy, but also the magic name. 

 

CUT THE RIBBON, HARDY AMIES

Posted on May 13, 2013 by admin

Sir Hardy Amies, born in London in 1909, was maybe the most successful and long-lived English couturier. His never ending interest for design and good manners emerged in his teen years and were mainly inspired by his mother a saleswoman for Madame Gray at Machinka & May, London. He was so in love with his “fashion” mum that he soon adopted his mother’s maiden name, Hardy – and always cited her as the inspiration for his chosen professional path. What is making this man an unique designer and consequently a Cut The Ribbon ? To start with, his being wonderfully snob and wicked sense of humor gifted . Then because he was HM Queen Elizabeth II dresser from her accession to his retirement in 1989. But also because he was one of the founders of ready to wear clothing for men: in 1961, Amies made fashion history by staging the first men’s ready-to-wear catwalk shows, at the Savoy Hotel in London.  In 1967, Amies was also commissioned by director Stanley Kubrick to design the costumes for  film 2001: A Space Odyssey. Yes, you are reading it well. It was him that collaborated in making that film a classic and a futuristic example of style. Hyper active “English man” also found time,  between running his Fashion house, the men line and several licences, to  wrote a regular column for Esquire magazine about men’s fashion that in 1964 was published  as a book: “ABC of Men’s Fashion” , a pearl of wisdom that Victoria & Albert Museum reissued after July 2009, the date when the Hardy Amies designer archive was opened and his legacy, once more, spread.

“A man should look as if he had bought his clothes with intelligence, put them on with care and the forgotten all about them”