Un Rendez-Vous with Parisian Car Dealer ARTHUR KARAKOUMOUCHIAN

Paris is a ghost town at dawn. At its quietest hours, under the blue-pink sky, its streets look as though they silently yearn to be disrupted with the sound of screeching tires. In Claude Lelouch’s 1976 short film C’était un rendez-vous, the French filmmaker takes this opportunity for uninterrupted flight mode. The eight-minute film is shot from the bumper of a Ferrari as it speeds through Paris at daybreak. The car neglects all traffic laws, going so fast it seems to hover over the cobbled streets as small flocks of doves hurry to get out of its way. The sound-track of the film is the hypnotizing whine of the car’s engine, punctuated by occasional gear shifts. At the end, the true incentive of the joyride is revealed. The car comes to an abrupt halt at a curb in Montmartre, and the driver gets out to embrace a woman who waits for him as the bells of the Sacré-Cœur toll in the background. It was all for romance.

Arthur Kar takes a break in his showroom to contemplate 032c Issue 31.

This is what one imagines car dealer extraordinaire Arthur Kar must dream about at night. As he testifies, automobiles themselves can inspire their own kind of love affairs: “The best time I have is when I’m driving the cars. Any car. Even if they’re ugly from the outside, they’re still fun. And I love to go fast. I used to race cars for fun. The cops literally hate me.” Starting out as a teenage car washer at a dealership, Kar’s passion for mechanics progressed continuously until it manifested itself in his company L’art de L’automobile. “I have just as much respect for the guy that changes the tires, the oil, that washes the car, as I do for the guy that sells or drives the most beautiful car in the world,” Kar muses, “They’re all the same people, because they all have the same passion and essentially, they do the same work. I was that 16-year-old guy washing the car. I still am.”

Adrien Leborgne, Arthur Kar, and Giedrė Dukauskaitė at the office.

Born in Beirut, Arhur’s full last name, Karakoumouchian, seems to have been given to him as a prophesy from the automotive gods. The collector of obscure vehicles now operates between Paris and Los Angeles, and considers his automobiles to be “useable art.” He has become known for fusing his love for cars with the fashion and art world. “Fashion as a craft inspires me to want to evolve the world of cars in an expressive sense. Car culture can
be creative too, like fashion. They attract the same kind of people,” he says.

In his Parisian catacombs that smell of fuel and leather, Kar consults his clientele, who trust him for his discretion. Kar’s workplace requires steady temperatures and little light, which is why his offices stretch out into vast underground spaces stacked with vintage Porsches, limited edition Ferraris, and remodeled Rolls Royces. His lair is what adrenaline looks like – a balance of chaos and tightly-wound order.

GARAGE 3
L'Art de L'Automobile headquarters

For the ultimate driving experiences in the world, Kar recommends the California coast and the German Autobahn. 

Paris 4
arthur kar
l'art de l'automobile
claude lelouch

Published in

Issue #31 — Winter 2016/2017HELMUT LANG

Issue # 31 — Winter 2016/2017

From 1986 to 2005, Helmut Lang systematically deconstructed every assumption about clothing and the way it is worn and communicated. As he himself once said, “I kept all the traditions and shades that were good — and then re-thought it all.” The Austrian designer’s lists of “firsts” is so long it could double as conceptual art. Lang was one of the first designers to collaborate with visual artists. The first to show clothing for men and women in a single presentation. The first to pioneer backstage photography as we know it today with Juergen Teller. The first to move a fashion house across the Atlantic … and the list goes on. In a 48-page dossier, 032c Issue 31 explores THE HELMUT LANG LEGACY and how his abrupt exit from the industry in 2005 has been felt like phantom limb in the world of fashion. The comprehensive study features essays by Ingeborg Harms and Ulf Poschardt, a roundtable with Tim Blanks, Olivier Saillard, and Neville Wakefield, an interview with Lang himself, as well as rare material from the Helmut Lang archive.

Is Calabasas the new Abu Dhabi? Are the Californian suburbs the perfect place for new energy experiments in modern apparel? In an editorial shot by MERT & MARCUS and conceptualized by KANYE WEST, 032c travels to the Los Angeles exurb of Calabasas to bathe in the dust of the Wests’ under-construction home designed by Axel Vervoordt. The shoot features cameos by KIM KARDASHIAN WEST, KHLOÉ KARDASHIAN, AMINA BLUE, TRAVIS SCOTT, and others.

“At the time we started collaborating, everything in the world of art and fashion was polished. Everything was smooth, so we felt that Prada must be rough.” For the past decade, a windowless concrete hall at the PRADA headquarters has become an architectural gymnasium for REM KOOLHAAS and his firm OMA/AMO. Traveling from Rotterdam to Milan, architecture critic Jack Self examines the phenomenon of the firm’s catwalks for the Italian mega-house, exploring how Prada and OMA/AMO have teamed up to create the foundation of a new corporate aesthetic.

“You fuck. Or you don’t fuck. You can’t fuck a little.” In a 2012 reportage, writer Alexander Gorkow and photographer Andreas Mühe followed RAMMSTEIN on their tour of America. Since then, our private obsession with this document has become a matter of political urgency. What was once the anti-capitalist spectacle of an East German rock band in 2012, now reads like a seismograph for the right-wing political landscape of 2016. Here, we witness ideology’s opposite: raw energy unhinged from the burden of truth.

As our contemporary economy grows to demand CREATIVITY from all of its citizens, it has become increasingly unclear exactly what “creativity” is. In a double-feature illustrated by the Japanese photographer Kenta Cobayashi, Joachim Bessing speaks with Wolfgang Ullrich and Lars Vollmer on how society’s idea of a creative ethos has transformed within the digital revolution.

“People say this is vandalism.” 032c’s Bianca Heuser and photographer Nadine Fraczkowski take us inside ANNE IMHOF’s Angst, a grand and opaque artwork that has drifted across the world like a low-pressure system. Furnished with smoke machines, sleeping bags, razors, and bongs, the three-act immersive opera is a training camp for the denizens of hyper-capitalism.

Founded as sneaker blogs in 2005, HYPEBEAST and HIGHSNOBIETY have grown into large and disruptive forces in fashion. Simultaneously fuelling and gorging on a new generation’s appetite for content, they have set a rabid pace that has multinational brands following suit. Travelling up the feed and towards “the heart of content,” 032c’s Thom Bettridge and photographer Lukas Wassmann visit the companies’ respective HQs in Hong Kong and Berlin to suss out what this revolution spells for the landscape of media at large.

In the “SSENSE Files,” we present scenes of cross-platform madness from our work at ssense.com. The section features seven interviews with a range of cultural producers from rappers LIL YACHTY and SCHOOLBOY Q to jewelry designer GAIA REPOSSI, stylist ANDREW RICHARDSON, author NATASHA STAGG, artist SIMON DENNY, and artist/musician FATIMA AL QADIRI.

In our fashion section, WILLY VANDERPERRE and OLIVIER RIZZO shoot Clara 3000 in the editorial “Don’t Dream It’s Over.” GOSHA RUBCHINSKIY and 032c fashion director Mel Ottenberg team up for the ultimate study on Seinfeld-chic, while PIERRE DEBUSSCHERE and 032c fashion editor Marc Goehring vaporize Flemish baroque into a warped digital reality.

This issue, we also proudly introduce our “BERLIN REVIEW,” a section dedicated to our favorite printed matter of the season.

All this and more on 296 pages!