ARMOUR MAGAZINE ISSUE 19
THE EXPRESSION ISSUE DO NOT TOUCH. MAXI GLAMOUR PROMPTED THE HEIRLOOM ROOM
“ FAS H I O N I S T H E A R M O U R TO S U RV I V E T H E R E A L I T Y O F E V E R Y D AY L I F E . T O D O A W AY W I T H F A S H I O N W O U L D B E L I K E D O I N G A W AY W I T H C I V I L I Z AT I O N .
“ Bill Cunningham
A S S T. FA S H I O N D I R E C T O R S
DANA BERGER KARALENA DAVIS KLARA KOBYLINSKI
MADDY RITHOLZ LINA WILLEY
A S S T. P H O T O G R A P H Y D I R E C T O R
M A D E L I N E M O N TOYA O P E R AT I O N S D I R E CTO R
OLIVIA ALCHEK SABRINA ROBERTS
CONTENT MANAGERS RACHEL HELLMAN
PHOTOGRAPHY DIRECTORS J OAC H I M VAT U R I GRACE WANG
COPELAND MCCARTER JENNA SCHNITZLER
EDITORS E M I LY B L U E D O R N JANE THIER A L I C I A YA N G
GRACE GILBERT MADDY SHERMAN
FASHION DIRECTOR MIKKI JANOWER
CONTRIBUTORS ARIELA BASSON
K AT E S H I K A N Y
E M M A TA N G
CAT H E R I N E H E R L I H Y
TAY LO R Z H A N G
LETTER FROM THE EDITORS EXPRESSION
xpression takes on many forms. Sometimes it’s a bold statement to a room of ready listeners, while other moments it’s the soft click of a camera shutter when no one else is looking. Expression can be fueled by emotions, subconscious drives, and ideas evoked without the objectivity of words. This issue explores the multiplicity of meanings that both images and words hold. Expression stems from an inner confidence, for it takes a certain level of assertiveness and vulnerability to let the world in on just what it is to be you. Armour attempts to even the playing field between the large and small, historically urgent and ideologically timeless. We celebrate expression, both spontaneous and contemplative, such as the dramatic punctuations of a drag performance (Maxi Glamour, p.48), or the long-lost tradition of communicating one’s deepest emotions with a bouquet of flowers (The Language of Flowers, p.62). In these pages you’ll find expressions of gender, patriotism, insecurity, loyalty, confusion, race, age, and pride. Writers let their imaginations and pens run wild with fanciful conjectures
concerning their neighbors’ activities (What the hell is my upstairs neighbor doing? p. 32), photographers captured their personal take on the essence of the color yellow (Yellow, p. 36), and our fashion team styled an editorial (The Heirloom Room p. 72) that asks you to look more closely at the ambiguous, often amorphous meanings behind repurposed and decontextualized clothes. An interview with historian and professor Rikki Byrd (Fashion As Lens, p. 68) reminds us of the narrative of nationallyengaged, enslaved dressmakers from 19th century St. Louis who used their evocative art to buy freedom, and a collaboration with local fashion designer Charles Smith II, (Do Not Touch, p. 8) demands our attention with just three simple words on his clothing that allude to race, gender, and human respect. Freedom of expression is especially close to the heart of contemporary St. Louis. The energy within the city’s emotionally charged history, whether fueled by desire, fear, or rage, inspires us to make an impact. Expression can be a means to an end, a propeller of action, a personal escape. In these pages, we hope to nurture these moments of expression, both quiet and loud, so that we may celebrate each other’s identities and highlight the diverse passions our community holds.
Klara, Dana, and Karalena
Do Not Touch
Sex Sells, But So Do Cigarettes
Stars, Stripes, and Sweats
Letâ€™s Be Honest
The Language of Flowers
Furniture as Emotional Archive
The Heirloom Room
Fashion as Lens
DO NOT TOUCH. photography M A X F I S H E R , K A R A L E N A D A V I S creative direction K A R A L E N A D A V I S , DANA BERGER, CHARLES SMITH II
models M A G G I E J I A , L I Z Z I E C O H A N , A N W A R makeup S O P H I A S P O T O paintings K A Y L E E
writing E M I L Y B L U E D O R N
rmour sat down with Charles Smith II, a designer in the St. Louis Fashion Fund’s inaugural class. An entrepreneur and artist, Charles weaves together his artistic abilities, knowledge of the fashion industry, and vision for a better world into his clothing lines, S2 and Smith II. Below, his insights, inspirations, and a taste of his work.
You have spoken about clothing having a message. Could you talk more about what inspires the messages you express with your designs? For me, inspiration is around at all times. You just have to be open to receiving. With Do Not Touch [S2 slogan], it started as a collection, but I kept it as its own line because of what it meant to people, and what it meant for me too. It started out as a reaction to police injustice. It was kind of my way of addressing that. You know, if there’s an African American kid walking down the street in a hoodie but now it has “Do Not Touch” centered on it with all this negative space around those words, if you’re walking towards him, your eye immediately goes to that and it triggers your mind to pay attention to it. The second inspiration is the golden rule in museums of Do Not Touch. In a museum, we hold art up as this hyper-delicacy and we tend to tiptoe around it and treat it with such value. And that should be the same way we treat humans. As humans, wearing those words, you gain that high value of art and should be treated in the same way. And then the third inspiration was more literal — for women, protecting them when they’re out and people are grabbing at them. What if your clothes could speak for you? The b-side of that was me wanting to bring awareness to the trafficking of women. Just going back to boundaries being set, and that they need to be respected. That respect is the commonality between all of the inspirations.
You have two fashion lines, Smith II and S2, so you’ve had the opportunity to express yourself through two different channels. Could you speak to that? Smith II was the start, the high-end high fashion side. That’s where I personally started, because when I modeled I did high-end runway shows and was living in Europe. And of course when you’re over there, you’re surrounded by the highest of high fashion there is. So once I started designing, I was instantly attracted to that. Not just because of the luxury, but because of the artistry and expression. The material parts are coming from 700 different places and you’re trying to keep this vision where you can still express, but also be commercial to some degree, because it has to sell. So that’s when I created S2 by Smith II because it was something I could create at a more affordable price point and still be able to stay within a certain vision. Thinking about balancing the marketing side of fashion with having these lofty ideas of what you want to create, what is the most difficult part of being both an entrepreneur and also a designer, especially with the STL market? Different markets are just different based on the people in them. This particular market has its own divided cliques and demographics, obviously because of the racial divide here (probably more aggressive here than anywhere else I’ve been). For one, this market receives everything very slowly. It’s just playing catch up in certain ways, pushing out old ways of thinking and making room for the new way. That’s a process in itself, but certain people have to feel this obligation to push it faster. I’m one of those people, which is why I’m always trying to work with people from different walks of life at all times and then create something where everyone can be in the same room at the same time. That’s all it takes. You just need someone that gives a shit. I’m trying to kind of break the intimidation of the Fashion Fund down to make it a little more inviting for people to be like “It’s cool, we’re humans, it’s a building.” That’s been my marketing way of infusing myself in other people’s worlds and bringing something to the table, and seeing how I can help. That’s it. I’m just a person who wants to help all the time.
So what’s inspiring you right now?
Music is always the first inspiration for me. Music does something that I can’t do. Sonically, the sounds, beats, lyrics, and cadences are constructed in a way that gets into your head, literally– and I’m all about psychological emotional triggers and responses to action. Every action has a reaction. So I’m always trying to understand human habits too. A lot of it really starts there before I really create anything. You really have to— as a designer and a creative— predict outcomes. Anything entrepreneurial requires understanding and foresight of objectives and success, or at least seeing the process of getting to those wins. So for me, it’s music that inspires. I love the way it makes people feel, what it can do, and the environment it can create.
Music: Playboi Carter, Lil Uzi Vert, Young Thug, Goldlink, M.I.A., Pharrell, Mozart. On country music – “It’s definitely not A$AP Rocky” Movies: Clockwork Orange, Eyes Wide Shut, The Shining (Stanley Kubrick). On movie direction – “I love Stanley Kubrick, the way he captures cinematography, but also the story lines of his films are very fucked up in the best way. I find so much inspiration in darkness, so much light in darkness. I find light in light too, but I can go both ways with that. I’m a dark soul type of individual.” Designers: Rick Owens, Karl Lagerfeld, Giambattista Valli, Alexander Wang. On Alexander Wang – “He has the fun dark side. His style is like you’re going to hell, but there’s a party there. It’s fun, there’s no pitchforks... and Skrillex is down there with us.” *Clothing provided by Smith II Featuring local St. Louis rapper, Anwar
Stars, Stripes, and Sweats writing N A T A L I A O L E D Z K A A N D C O P E L A N D M C C A R T E R photography G A B B Y C L I F F O R D model A L E S S A N D R A F E R R A R I - W O N G styling L I N A W I L L E Y A N D M A D D Y R I T H O L Z
irkenstocks, sweatpants, a simple tee and jeans— casual dressing has become an intrinsic part of American style. However, although this casual attitude is embedded in many aspects of our culture, it is a relatively new concept, dating back only as far as the 20th century. While celebrities and common folk alike have quickly adopted it, this desire for comfort and practicality shows something more than just that a shift in trends. The changing nature of American fashion also reflects a cultural shift.
What casual dress actually reveals about America, however, is more nuanced and positive, even though the clothes worn are not always innovative. A simple white t-shirt and jeans reflect a sense of self-assuredness that pushes against the restrictions and rules of the past. In comfortable clothes we can run and jump without worrying about adjusting out-of-place pieces. After women began to adopt men’s style in the 60s, outfits started to become more of an outlet for gender expression, with styles outgrowing their previously binaried affiliation.
The 20th century saw a dramatic change in the dressing standards of America. Sportswear was introduced in the early 1900s with the tweed Norfolk suits and women’s wide-leg culottes designed for biking. World War II required practical dress for women as they replaced men in factories. By the 1960s, gender styles began to blur and overlap as women adopted t-shirts, jeans, cardigans and button down shirts.
Casual dress also blurs the line between social classes. Fast fashion provides this middle ground, where showcasing socio-economic status is no longer one of the main functions of fashion as it has been in the past. Take the Silicon Valley startup uniform for example. No longer are employees expected to wear suits to the office— chinos and a polo shirt are just fine, if not overdressed.
Today, casual is the undeniably the American uniform, a phenomenon that goes beyond sweatpants and hoodies. It has become an art form: bralettes popping out of shirts are used as accessories and Adidas track pants are now as much of a staple as a little black dress. People pair high heels with sweats, and a full face of makeup with a t-shirt and leggings. The movement has even made it to the runway, emerging in the innovative streetwear of Kanye West’s fashion line, Yeezy, in the form of oversized sweatshirts, baggy pants, and baseball hats. But what does this show about American culture? To some, casual attire equates to laziness and a deep lack of selfexpression. Some claim that Europeans are more stylish than Americans, dressing with more care and intention. This tendency of ours to buy cheaper fast fashion contrasts against the stereotyped trope of Europeans investing in high-quality pieces. To be fair, it’s an easy comparison to make. Americans often wear stretchy pants and hats to cover up unwashed hair, and it seems that no article of clothing can be too oversized and shoes that don’t require unlacing are definitely preferred.
A broader casual attitude has also bled into other parts of our culture, revealing the more negative implications of our desire for simplification, from dating to the preferred means of communication of our president. We now use Tinder or Bumble, lying in our beds as we swipe through potential dates or casual hookup prospects. President Donald Trump’s rise to the White House was supported by his incredibly casual and occasionally misspelled 3AM tweets (#tbt to “covfefe”), a striking shift from the formality and more rhetoric-based candidacies of the past. While Americans get a bad rep for their casual style, it mirrors the changing values of American society, which might not be a bad thing. Casual dressing provides both freedom, a more even playing field, and a new avenue of expression departing from the strict confinements of more refined fashions. It’s safe to say that Americans have embraced the shift and made it their own.
SEOUL SEARCHING photography E R I C L I creative direction & styling M I K K I J A N O W E R fashion assistant E M M A T A N G models L I L Y H Y O N , K R I S T I N A Y O U writing M I K K I J A N O W E R
ily Hyon and Kristina You are playing dress-up. The bed is piled with head-turning pieces: a trapeze dress with a circular zipper pull running down the front, exaggeratedly wide-legged black jeans, a mind-boggling assortment of cheeky graphic tees. “I found this back in Seoul,” Kristina tells me, gesturing towards the dress. I ask about the tank top in Lily’s hands. “This?” she laughs. “I found this one on ASOS.” In the past decade, Seoul has rapidly gained traction in the fashion industry, disseminating the hallmarks of Korean style to influence personal expression across the world. Many of the recent trends reproduced by leading brands in the Western hemisphere have origins in Seoul, from oversized silhouettes to tank tops layered over tee shirts. Meanwhile, many of Seoul’s own leading brands- including Stylenanda, Gentle Monster, Neon Moon and KYE- have begun establishing distribution channels on an international scale. If you know where to look, you can find evidence of Seoul’s sartorial footprint anywhere. In Lily and Kristina’s wardrobes, clothing brought from Seoul pairs perfectly with pieces sourced from Western high fashion and fast fashion brands alike. As the girls show us a highlight reel of their closets and their cultures, they prove that style can transcend trendspotting to become a convention of cultural identity and artistry.
Sex Sells, But So Do Cigarettes writing M A D D Y R I T H O L Z photography G A B B Y C L I F F O R D model H A I L E Y N A T H E L
ou’re walking down 9th Avenue. Leaning against the wall of the Soho House is a woman around age thirty. She’s wearing a fur coat, sunglasses, and heeled booties—all black—and a cigarette hangs loosely from her red-stained lips. Her icy confidence attracts the gazes of passerby. She looks deep in thought, which amplifies her allure. One might assume her job is something of high prestige. Just her outfit alone is impressive, but the cigarette amplifies her intrigue as she stands outside on a smoke break. In mainstream American culture, a well-dressed smoker looks especially chic. The act of smoking—removing oneself from the party and taking a deep drag—is an implicit expression of one’s character that is considered to be enviable by the public. However, take a step back and realize how warped that logic is. Cigarettes are one of the most harmful mass-produced commodities to the human body. They are known to cause cardiovascular disease, respiratory diseases, and an array of fatal cancers, and smokers know it. After all, one of the great public health victories of our time is the legal requirement to print the side effects of smoking cigarettes right on the pack. So how do so many intelligent, fashion-saavy people fall into the smoking trap? Yes, there are temporary mental and physical sensations that some enjoy. But the perception that smoking is “cool” is what first influences them to try their first cigarette. In the media and everyday environments, smokers typically look the most sophisticated and put together. At the same time, they embody a “sad girl chic” that most people subconsciously try to attain. “Sad girl chic,” in our cultural lexicon, is taken to mean being twisted and broken, in a cool, reserved way. Writer Jessica Reed for The Guardian explains this notion as: “You light a cancer stick, and you get to meditate on your own life going up in smoke. It may be appalling, but this aesthetic – just in case you’ve never seen our arthouse movies – feels very French.” The fabulous, but tragically sad Holly Golightly is the epitome of this phenomenon. In Breakfast At Tiffany’s Audrey Hepburn’s character maintains the lifestyle of a New York City socialite, but there is a perpetual mystery about her hidden past. Holly Golightly is deemed one of
the most fashionable characters in film, and of course she almost always has a cigarette in hand. Smokers are envied because of this perceived “cool” attitude that people want, but do not know how to get. This sexy, complex image of a smoker could not have been formed without the fashion industry’s past and present support. Cigarettes are used as props to paint a mysterious, noir image in fashion. This statement is coming from the most influential names and brands in the industry. In Louis Vuitton’s 2011 Paris Fashion Week’s show, Kate Moss strutted down the runway puffing a cigarette. Then, in reaction to the controversy, British Vogue’s Features Director, Harriet Quick, commented: “Oh, it’s just fashion. Fashion loves to do this, to provoke. It’s not really saying anything. But, yes, there’s something about smoking which works wonderfully well on the screen or the photo. It fills the screen, gives impact.” Right there, all at once, a top fashion house, top model, and top magazine acted together to romanticize cigarettes. Most recently, the bathroom smoking scandal at this year’s Met Gala epitomizes the issue at hand. The Met Gala is the mecca of the fashion industry. Virtually every influential person in fashion and art attends, ranging from designers to celebrities. The garments worn are talked about for weeks afterwards. Yet, at this year’s Gala the attendees did the public and the museum institution a disservice by smoking cigarettes in the bathroom and broadcasting it all over social media. Marc Jacobs, Kylie Jenner, Bella Hadid, Dakota Johnson, and Stella McCartney are just some of the big names who participated. They posed in their couture garments at one of the world’s most prestigious events, smoking cigarettes, ultimately advertising smoking as looking fabulous for millions to see. Furthermore, their mass reposting of this activity implies that they would rather hang out, socializing and lighting up in the bathroom than be present at the worldrenowned gala. In essence, cigarettes became a symbol of this exclusive, elite social club. If top celebrities and influencers outwardly disapproved cigarettes, they would have the ability to make a difference. But instead, they choose to puff away, maintaining their chicness at a gargantuan cost.
350-2500 Degrees photography G R A C E W A N G creative direction K L A R A K O B Y L I N S K I manicure P O L I S H E D N A I L S A N D S P A 2 5 0 0 D E G R E E S O F H E AT A R E R E Q U I R E D TO B E N D T H E M E TA L TO M A K E A S I N G L E R I N G . I T M I G H T TA K E O N LY 3 5 0 D E G R E E S T O B A K E A B L U E B E R R Y - R A S P B E R R Y T A R T , B U T T H E R E S U LT I S N O L E S S D E L I C I O U S .
I N G R E DI E N TS Makes one tart (6 â€“ 8 servings) Tart Dough 2 cups FLOUR 1/2 cup GRANULATED SUGAR 1/4 teaspoon SEA SALT 10 tablespoons UNSALTED BUTTER , SLICED 2 EG G S Tart Filling 2 cups BLUEBERRIES 1 cup RASPBERRIES 1 LIME OR LEMON 2 tablespoons GRANULATED WHITE SUGAR 2 tablespoons FOUR Pinch of SALT 1 tablespoon BUTTER , CUT IN SMALL PIECES 2 tablespoons FRUIT JAM 9 inch tart pan
TART D OUG H Add the butter and sugar into the food processor and pulse until light and fluffy. Add one egg and the yolk of the second egg, pulse again until incorporated. Sift the flour and salt together, then add to the food processor. Pulse until the mixture forms a ball. Flatten the dough onto plastic wrap into a disk. Chill in the refrigerator for 20 minutes. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough so that it is slightly larger than the pan, starting from the middle and working out until the dough reaches 1/4-inch thick. Roll the dough onto the rolling pin and carefully transfer into the tart pan. Lightly press the dough into the bottom and up the sides of the pan. Chill in the refrigerator until filling is ready.
BAKE Heat the oven to 350 degrees F. In a large bowl, toss the blueberries and raspberries with sugar, zest and juice of the lime or lemon, and the 2 tablespoons of flour. Spoon into the tart shell then dot pieces of butter over the top. Bake until the tart shell is light golden brown around the edges, 1 hour to 1 hour and 20 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack and cool until the fruit has set, about 1 hour. Heat the jam in the microwave or small saucepan then use a pastry brush to brush the warmed jam over the top of the tart.
PROMPTED I N O U R W O R L D O F FA S T- PA C E D R E P O R TA G E , W E S E L D O M F I N D T H E T I M E TO G I V E T H O U G H T T O O F F B E A T T O P I C S , B U T W H E N W E D O T H E R E S U LT S A R E A L M O S T A LWAYS S U R P R I S I N G, U N I Q U E , A N D O U R M O S T C R E AT I V E . H E R E , T W O W R I T E R S A S K : W H AT T H E H E L L I S M Y U P STA I R S N E I G H B O R D O I N G? WHILE TEN PHOTOGRAPHERS CONSIDER YELLOW.
Piano Di Sopra writing K A T E S H I K A N Y artwork K L A R A K O B Y L I N S K I
y ceiling is their stage. A stage upon which they clunk metal bowls and drill frustrated feet and drag heavy matter. They drop aspirin or uncooked pasta or strings of beaded jewelry like buckets of nails, like the patter of hail on a tin roof. Booming Italian echoes through the floor cracks, through the vents and the pipes and the stairwell just outside my door. Speaking Italian means speaking with hands. Their gestures, sweeping arm propellers and punchy pinched fingers slicing animatedly through air, reverberate within my walls. Vergognoso! Egoista! How dare they shatter my peace. How dare they soil afternoon snoozes in the glow of early Milanese summer, in the breeze of open windows, white curtains aflutter. Italian soap operas and Italian fist fights and Italian lovemaking seep in at all hours, unwelcomed. I forgive only the occasional dance of savory spices and homemade sauces and muted laughter swirling with wind from above, warming my blank home-far-away-from-home. Then they’re shrieking and they’re mowing and they’re bowling. Then they’re two and then three and then twelve, a stampede born at dusk, a festa of great spirit. The beat of their booming bass tickles the vase on my bedside table. It spills in defeat, making crinkly the pages of my journal, leaking like a waterfall into my slipper. I am their marionette; they control me from above. I become a part of their mess, hair pulled taut between clenched fingers and tangled sheets of sleepless nights. What the hell is my upstairs neighbor doing?
Swept Away writing T A Y L O R Z H A N G artwork K L A R A K O B Y L I N S K I
wake up, getting slammed against Ceiling. It is 3:00 am now. I am very tired, and the top of my head is starting to chip. “I’m sorry,” I whisper to Ceiling. He groans in response; I can hear Floor squeaking a little on the other side.
“You haven’t seen a thing. Not a goddamn thing.” Ceiling suddenly snaps, pushing back on me so hard that little pieces of plaster start falling on me. Ceiling is in that mood again. I haven’t seen him this upset since last winter when Pipes broke down and cried all over him. He was leaking for days. I don’t know why he’s so upset. I mean, Floor has it the worst. Even Ground, her cousin, feels bad for her. All day and all night, she’s got boots and cleats and soggy boat shoes tracked all over her. The kids upstairs never clean her, never take care of her, they just walk all over her, day in and day out. Sometimes, I can hear her squeaky cry late at night. But every time I talk to her about it she laughs it off, saying one of the boys got up late at night for water and woke her up. I don’t believe her. I mean, it’s not like I’m living in heaven either. Last summer, Swiffer came into town, and now he acts like he runs the whole place. “What an asshole!” Ground said to me, once. “Swiffer’s friend Lysol is a real doucher. He’s always around and all they do is talk about ‘99.9%’ efficiency, ‘stain crusher’, ‘work hard, play hard!’ Not nearly as sweet as you, Broom.” But Ground always looks really bright and new whenever Swiffer comes around. I think she’s just saying this because she’s jealous about how close Swiffer is to Lysol. It sort of bums me out because I always thought Ground and I maybe had some chemistry. *** It’s 3:30 am now. I try to relax, but it’s a little hard when you’ve been bracing yourself for the past thirty minutes. The top of my head is feeling really chafed.
I know I should be more grateful that I’m getting used more than before—every Friday, sometimes Saturdays, but it’s not the same. I don’t think my friends like me very much. I mean, Ground doesn’t say much now when I’m around. I think she feels embarrassed because she and Swiffer moved so fast. Me and Ceiling talk, but he mostly hates me because I get rammed up against him so often. I think that’s why Ceiling always says all that weird stuff about Ground when I’m around. Like right now, at 3:45, Ceiling won’t stop talking about how Ground and Swiffer have been really “going at it recently”. I can’t blame him for watching, but it’s like maybe can we not talk about this? “It’s the scent beads, man.” Ceiling croons. “Stain CRUSH-her, Broom. They get real down n’ dirty, I’ve seen mud on him afterwards. Freaky, right?” I’m embarrassed because I don’t know what scent beads are. I slam into him extra hard this time. He stops talking so much. But I don’t know how much more either of us can take. The constant prodding is really getting to Ceiling, and now he’s back to going off about the “things he’s seen from his position”. I don’t blame him, but, like, I’m really over this superiority complex. I look up at Ceiling and sigh. I think “this is it” for me. And so for the first time, I ram up into him hard, on my own, because he’s an asshole and because I actually care. And I do that over and over again until finally something inside me snaps. At 3:50, some doors slam and I get to rest on top of Ground for a minute, the tip top of my handle hanging down all skewered and splintery. Ceiling sighs in relief, “Thank God. Well, see you on Friday, Broom. Just can’t wait!” He stops a little when he sees me. “Oh, man. I’m so sorry. I didn’t know. I mean, I, uh…” Floor cries a little and then gets quiet—Ceiling tries to comfort her but there’s not much to say.
I get tossed in the trashcan but make new friends. None of my new friends are dicks like Ceiling. There’s Banana Peel and Whole Foods Bag and Tylenol Bottle. Banana Peel kind of smells and Tylenol Bottle keeps asking for acetaminophen (the guy’s seen some stuff), but they’re nice. Even Whole Foods Bag, who gets on everyone’s nerve with all that hippie “organic” crap (Banana Peel feels “personally victimized”), adds to our little family. But the best surprise is when Lysol joins us one day. I am so happy to see him; I forgot about him and Swiffer and Ground. He looks a little washed up and skinny now—I wonder if all the scent beads finally did him in. “Broom, dude, you’re a hero. The kids from upstairs heard you and stopped raging so hard. Floor wanted to let you know she thinks you’re righteous.” I don’t think Floor said that. But I did feel better. My handle wasn’t in such good shape but it was worth it. “Oh, and Ground is so over Swiffer. New kid in town.” I feel my broken spine, breathe in fast. “Roomba.”
Arianna Goldman Nia Li
KALEIDOSCOPIC photography & creative direction K A R A L E N A D A V I S styling M I K K I J A N O W E R models H I B A Y O U S I F , B R A N D O N K R I S K O
O U R S O C I E T Y R E V O LV E S A R O U N D T H E N E E D F O R E V E R Y T H I N G W E E N C O U N T E R T O B E S T R I C T LY D E F I N E D . T H I S M I N D S E T B L E E D S I N T O M O S T P A R T S O F O U R L I V E S , I N C LU D I N G O U R R E L AT I O N S H I P W I T H S T Y L E , W H I C H R E Q U I R E S U S T O D E F I N E O U R S E LV E S I N E X P L I C I T T E R M S , A S I F O U R C U R R E N T S TAT E I S F I X E D A N D U N C H A N G I N G . E AC H O F U S I S E X P E C T E D TO H AV E A D I ST I N CT P E R S O N A L S T Y L E T H AT D I S P L AYS T H E E S S E N C E O F W H O W E A R E , W H E N I N F A C T W E A R E A L L A M I X T U R E O F O U R PA S T S E LV E S , O U R P R E S E N T M O O D S , A N D O U R F U T U R E A S P I R AT I O N S . O U R S E LV E S A N D O U R S T Y L E S A R E N O T SINGULAR – THEY’RE KALEIDOSCOPIC.
Let’s Be Honest writing J A N E T H I E R artwork A M A N D A R E I T E R
was working in New York at my grandpa’s poker club friend’s real estate business,” Phoebe told me. “I was in charge of redesigning their website, which was fine to begin with….not to mention, I’m an environmental policy major.”
My friend Phoebe and I were spending a Sunday afternoon at Kayak’s shortly after first semester began. I had primed myself to feel a little inferior; judging by my friend’s Instagram presence, her summer was brimming with rooftop cocktails and weekends on the beach. “Are you joking?” she looked at me in disbelief. “This was the worst summer of my life.” My coffee date with Phoebe reaffirmed what I knew deep down to be true, but often needed to remind myself: social media is not real life. Everyone, myself included, cherry picks which parts of the day-to-day are to be broadcasted; the rest is left in the shadows. At no time is this dichotomy—real life versus contrived social media life—more pronounced than when you ask a handful of honest people about how their summer really was. “I’m a political science major and a writing minor, and I want to go into longform journalism after I graduate,” another friend Emmanuelle explained to me over the phone. “So let me know why I was an unpaid intern at a public relations firm in Boston.” Emmanuelle was another friend whose Instagram feed was the envy of every bored intern stuck in in a fluorescent-lit office…. particularly me. She had an unbelievably spacious apartment in the Back Bay neighborhood, she was working at a PR firm of great note, and making nearly $5,000 all said and done. However, once we got to talking about it, she seemed largely unenthused with her experience. “You had such a nice apartment, though! Floor to ceiling windows and everything!” I tried to reassure her. She released a weighty sigh. “It had vermin.” she said. “Like, real life rats. Everywhere. You could hear their gross little feet scampering across the wooden floors when you were trying to fall asleep.” I was shocked. The grim realities of day to day life tend to be cloaked by the overwhelming display of grandeur. At such an imperfect,
trial-and-error time in our lives, why were we all trying so hard to fool each other into thinking our summers were picture perfect? Fooling each other into believing everything is fine—amazing, even—is so pervasive in our culture due in large part to the pressure to document our every move. This comes at enormous costs, not the least of which is that when everybody else’s best angles and sunniest days are right in your face while you’re eating a chicken Caesar wrap at your desk, it doesn’t take long to start feeling the impact. But if this #SummerFOMO is a shared phenomenon, why do we all still play into it? Is it because we feel guilty talking about the negative things we experience? Are we afraid of seeming ungrateful for an internship no doubt countless applicants were turned away from? Are we self-conscious about what we did, knowing that so many Wash U students may have gotten a job that was better-paying or more noteworthy? This inferiority complex brings us right back to square one: fear of posting the truth is born of fear of being the only one whose summer may have been largely unhappy. This is by no means a new trend. Social media has been an enormous culprit in a rise in adolescent anxiety and depression, and for good reason. Perhaps we aren’t meant to bear witness to everybody else’s glamorous day-to-day lives. If comparison is the thief of joy, Instagram stories are Ocean’s Eleven. What speaking candidly with my friends in person revealed to me is a truth that seems obvious in retrospect: nothing is as it seems online, and it’s certainly never the whole story. The ability to pick and choose the sides of yourself you want others to see is a lethal weapon, and few of us are courageous enough to use it openly and responsibly. Until a utopian world arrives in which we all post about the times a pigeon shat on our heads on the way into the office, or our showerhead chipped off the wall and burst the pipe, or our unpaid internship didn’t offer a stipend, we must remember not to compare our behind the scenes to our friends’ highlight reels.
Gentrification writing S E T H C A P L A N artwork I R I N A P A V L O V A
or many, the term gentrification conjures images of sleek lofts in post-industrial areas, and for others, old, deteriorating row homes bought out by ambitious yuppies who see the potential in a neighborhood and the value of owning a home in the urban core. No matter the image you envision, behind it is a social crisis involving the displacement of the original residents in a neighborhood and a major demographic shift in the area. The city regained its appeal for many suburbanites in the 90s, resulting in a reverse population shift from the suburbs into the city, led by urban pioneers who would ultimately change a neighborhood without realizing the consequences. This influx of middle and upper class individuals and families into typically minority and low-income neighborhoods caused a great deal of displacement as property values and rents soared. The resources that once sustained a community changed to cater to the new population, and eventually the neighborhood loses its original aesthetic and cultural diversity from the gentrification process. Yet not all forms of gentrification in urban areas occur in this manner. With sound investments and smart choices, the process has proven in many neighborhoods across the nation that finding a place for all is possible. At the root of positive change is the development of mixed income housing alongside full-priced housing stock so that the majority of residents are not displaced and investment in the neighborhood continues, improving the availability of resources to the existing and new community. One current trend in urban planning is economic revitalization. This practice takes place in deteriorated neighborhoods, bringing business back, emphasizing local employment and keeping capital within the community to ensure original residents have access to jobs, often with improved wages. In several cities across the US, developers have chosen to open up businesses alongside
their residential communities in order to ensure stability for the neighborhood. The tax base for these neighborhoods rises, resulting in the decentralization of poverty and allowing the benefits of business to more evenly disperse across socioeconomic levels. In St. Louis, particularly in the Central West End and Soulard, gentrification has followed a typical pattern, often displacing a great deal of people. The Central West End experienced a rapid increase in the population of people ages 18-34, nearly doubling the number of young adults in the neighborhood. This influx of young, typically white residents is characteristic of classic gentrification as it prices out the original residents of the neighborhood. On the other hand, Maplewood, an inner ring suburb of St. Louis, has recently been revitalized and rebuilt, now boasting a bustling business district with restaurants and shops that changed the once downtrodden neighborhood to a center of suburban culture. Even if revitalization can somewhat improve a city and its resources, do we really want our urban cores to trend toward a homogenous group of a single race and socioeconomic status? The American city at its core has always been a meeting place for all cultures. Gentrification and even revitalization could just be another instance of dominant white interest transforming the last truly diverse urban neighborhoods. The question remains as to whether a better course of action might be to improve the quality of life of poor urban residents without displacing them or changing the existing structure of the city.
MA X I G LA MO U R photography G R A C E W A N G , MADELEINE MONTOYA
writing M A D E L E I N E M O N T O Y A creative direction D A N A B E R G E R
O N A M O N DAY A F T E R N O O N , W E K N O C K E D O N T H E B R I G H T G R E E N D O O R O F S T L S T Y L E . “ H I ! C O M E O N I N ! I ’ M M A X I .” M A X I G L A M O U R , A S T. L O U I S BASED DRAG PERFORMER AND QUEER ARTIST WELCOMED ARMOUR INTO T H E I R W O R K S P A C E T O D I S C U S S D R A G C U LT U R E A N D I D E N T I T Y . T H E P H O T O S W E R E TA K E N AT T H E C E N T R A L B R A N C H O F T H E S T. L O U I S P U B L I C L I B R A R Y, WHERE MAXI HAD JUST FINISHED THE FIRST DRAG QUEEN STORY TIME EVENT THE LIBRARY HAD EVER HELD.
So before we start off, what are proper pronouns? When I’m in drag, they or them are my preferred, or he also. People say she and sometimes I’m ok with that, but my order is they, he, and then she. How did you first get involved with drag culture? Well, I saw Party Monster when I was a kid, and I wanted to be like Marilyn Manson. I wanted to be in a punk band, so I’d dress up and go to clubs, and tell people my name is Maxi Glamour. How did you come up with the name Maxi Glamour? So there’s a scene in Party Monster where they’re like “money, success, fame, glamour,” and I was like “well, I want to be glamourous.” And so, Maxi Glamour. I also call myself the demon queen of Polka and Baklava, it’s just kind of like an assemblage of two things that transcend cultural boundaries. In college I was president of the international club, and I studied linguistics, so I would say I’m a xenophile; I’m obsessed with other cultures and things around the world that are different. Polka started off in Check Slovakia and you can see influences of it in Mexican music, and German music, and like all over the world. How about we start from the beginning. Where are you from? I was born in Oklahoma (laughs), and my mom hated it there so we moved to St. Louis when I was two. I went to school in San Francisco and studied fashion design and whatnot, then came back to St. Louis, because I missed, you know, tornadoes… And the humidity! Ha, yeah. I really missed thunderstorms, you know? And the snow; all those things were really cool. Do you think going to fashion school in San Francisco helped you stylize Maxi Glamour? Was it hard to cultivate an image for Maxi, or did you already have inspiration behind them? Well I started performing before I went to college, so I think that really helped me think of clothes and know how to construct
them. It’s still rough. I don’t want to be like “Yeah, everyone who wants to be a drag queen go study fashion!” but I think my particular route it did help me out a lot. Do you have any style inspirations? Yeah, so many. Leigh Bowery is great, Jimi Hendrix, Marilyn Manson, Prince, Iris Apfel…Jean Paul-Gautier. And I like anything that looks like something I haven’t seen. Are there any staples to Maxi Glamour’s wardrobe? I like lace and rhinestones, those are staples. Imagine…like a demonic hooker that got dropped off in a romantic brothel in the middle of Morocco. Haha, very specific. That’s my staple! Do you have a favorite article that you’ve ever created? Hmm. It’d be a headdress. That is my favorite thing to make in the world. I’m not good at making wigs but I could make a headdress for days. I would say it’s my 20’s inspired art deco headdress. It’s sort of imperialistic galactic soldier, which is horrible, I hate imperialism, but my outfit looks like an imperialist. My newest headpiece is probably my most favorite one. If I were a parent I’d be horrible. I’d have like 8 kids and the youngest would be my new favorite. I feel like it makes sense for artists. My newest work is often my favorite because it’s my most recent headspace. One thing we were really curious about was the process of getting ready. Could you walk us through a typical day or night? Well when I’m in drag, I spend like, four to five hours. Like shaving my face and my body, I want to feel smooth and I want my abs to look great. And then comes the painting and sitting in front of a mirror for hours and hours. The longer I have the happier I’ll be, and the better the face will be. I’ve spent eight hours in the mirror doing makeup. That’s the best makeup I’ve ever done. And then I scurry around to find clothes, and replace things I can’t find with
YOU GOT TO STIR IT, OR ELSE IT GETS BURNT AROUND THE EDGES.
something else, and then I go out and preform. During the day I take like a five-minute shower, and just throw on some eyebrows, lightweight moisturizer, a t-shirt and jeans. Is the makeup always different for each show? For the most part it’s different, you know I don’t want to have the same face. I’ll paint my face different colors if I can. I love when it’s some big grandiose event, and there’s going to be 4,000 people, and they’re expecting something new and different. You got to stir it, or else it gets burnt around the edges. So you don’t improvise? I do. New things are found by improvisation. Most of the time it’s me fucking something up and having to cover it: like drawing swirls if one eye has eyeliner that’s too low. Could you walk us through a typical drag show? Let’s see. That one’s hard. I show up there, about 15 minutes later than I said I would be. I usually show up painted because that way I’m already ready and I can just go on stage. I’m kind of nervous, more anxious and ready to preform, and then I have to pee. Then I go on stage and I don’t have to pee anymore. Not because I peed on myself, just because like, the anxiety is not there. Once I go on stage I just lose it. I lose my clothes, I lose any inhibitions, I lose being scared, nervous, the sneezes I had beforehand, and I don’t have to cough. I’m here. And then I get out of drag, walk around backstage naked, covering myself of course, and get ready for the next routine. And then leave and go home. Washing off makeup is the worst. I’ll have makeup in my ears for months sometimes. Do you feel like Maxi Glamour fits into your daily life identity? Or do you feel like the two are really separate? It helped me come to terms with my identity. The first time I saw queer people on TV I thought, “I want to be like that, and they’re gay,” it was in Party Monster. This new entity I was creating would be my new birth and I’d be gay, and it’s ok. And I got to be gayer, and not care if I was wearing pink or holding hands. I even signed papers in high school as Maxi Glamour.
So it started early. Mhm. How did your family feel about it? Uh… Long story? Very long story. They were…I have to be very diplomatic about this. My mom was really the only one in the picture. She had to be supportive of me, and say that she loved me, even though she didn’t really understand why I was gluing cheerios on my face. But she came around. It is art, but sometimes it’s low brow art. I like that. This isn’t Michelangelo right here. This is Basquiat. It should be weird and push boundaries. So would you say Maxi comes out often in your day to day life? Has they helped you be yourself? It got me where I am today, you know? All my bosses call me Maxi Glamour. Even kids do. I told people I was going to read to kids at the library as Maxi Glamour and everyone just responded, “Oh, so you’re just going to read it as yourself?” They didn’t get that there were two different things. Do you like that? Yeah. Sometimes it’s hard though you know? It’s not appropriate in all places. The fact that being Maxi Glamour is where I’m most confident, and it’s not welcome in all places, so sometimes I don’t know how to behave because of that. Does Maxi Glamour change a lot? I think that depends on how much I’ve had to drink and the chemicals in my body. Am I feeling sad today? If I am, I’m going to be more quiet and just be dressed in drag in the corner. Being in drag is a reflection of me and my emotions and how I feel that day. Sometimes being in drag can change me and change how I feel, but sometimes drag is a projection of how I truly feel.
NOW THAT DRAG IS IN THE MAIN LIGHT, PEOPLE SAY, “OH, I’M A DRAG QUEEN, I’M FIERCE, I’M FABULOUS,” AND THEY DON’T SAY ANYTHING ELSE.
I never really saw it that way. It’s interesting how you see yourself and Maxi Glamour as one entity, with Maxi being a stronger projection of yourself. Is that why you feel more confident? Yeah, I’ve got like three hours of makeup on my face. I can’t breathe because of the corset so I have great posture. I feel more prim and proper and more fancy. I can totally flirt with people when I’m in drag. But at the same time when I’m out of drag they don’t know who I am. You seem really confident right now, even though you’re not in drag. Well this is my workspace, I’m sitting at my desk, this is where I’m most comfortable. If I’m preforming at a gig and I don’t know anybody, I’m going to be scared and sitting in the corner. I do shows with people I admire and it’s an honor that I’m on the same bill as them. I’m just biting my tongue making sure I don’t say something stupid so they don’t tell all their friends, “Maxi Glamour is so weird.” Well I am but…I get nervous in certain spaces. Yeah you said you get nervous before shows, but it all goes away once you go on stage. I get anxious before I preform. That’s the worst feeling of drag. The waiting? Waiting behind the curtains when they’re stalling in front of you. I just want to get out there and get naked! Is getting naked your favorite part of your shows? Well at the end I’m usually always naked. I like creating things, so when I’m naked it means that act is done, and I can work on the next one. This question switches gears. What is something you wish that people knew about drag culture who aren’t familiar with it? I guess right now I’m kind of upset about how many drag queens are out there and aren’t speaking up against social advocacy. Drag is super political, and before Ru Paul’s drag race you didn’t see any drag queens on TV. Now that drag is in the main light,
people say, “Oh, I’m a drag queen, I’m fierce, I’m fabulous,” and they don’t say anything else. They have a microphone in their hand, but they’re just like, “Isn’t that fierce, isn’t that great.” I want to see drag queens at protests more often. I represent a small faction that’s like “super weird” and doesn’t give two fucks about fitting into norms. Sometimes people hate me for it. Are there certain ways that you try to keep drag political? Yeah, one way is through social media and to speak my mind on the internet, but that’s a lazy way to do it. In the shows that I host I try to include elected officials and super important queer leaders who influenced society. I invite people who are running campaigns that are super pro-gay and great allies or elected officials that have already won and are still fighting. I did a show for Bernie Sanders, it was called Bernie Man, because I liked him, I thought he was pretty cool, and so we raised money for him. I think that those things should happen. I planned a show with Pride St. Louis and other places that showcase all Black performers. St. Louis is 47% black and 44% white, according to the 2010 census. If you see drag shows and flyers, it’s not there, it’s not represented, and so I speak out about that on the internet and try to make sure that things are happening to aid that. There was a time when Ru Paul’s Drag Race was coming in, and none of the local St. Louis performers were mentioned. I was like, “This is stupid, why aren’t you putting these girls on the flyer, these are the local queens that keep the community alive,” and then I got into a fight with a bar owner. But after that all of the shows had flyers featuring the local performers. So that’s being political I think. You made a difference. Yeah, I try. The theme for our issue is expression and I guess you already answered this, but could you reiterate how Maxi Glamour helps you express your identity as a person? Maxi Glamour is my identity. It’s an extension of my person. Maxi Glamour means dressing up weirdly and being ok with my body. It helps me be proud of who I am and what I make. I feel like my first answer was the best, that it is part of my identity.
Furniture as Emotional Archive writing J E N N A S C H N I T Z L E R furniture design M A R I N A P E N G
a list of objects — ceramic townhouse
coiled rope box
drafting table with a wobbly leg
kitty ring holder
skinny ladder shelf
tiny floral armchair
inding, making, and using furniture and objects becomes an intimate exercise as we grow up. We collect them from family, friends, and strangers in the creation of our spaces —nesting and layering pieces with varied histories that otherwise would not have met. Strangers become family when combined in a home – opa’s bedside table would never have met MÅLM if you hadn’t brought them together in your most personal space.
Combining materiality and functionality with storytelling, furniture (new and old) acts as an archive that preserves memory. Furniture complements our lives and supports us as story-makers—holding, saving, and remembering stories that we might otherwise forget. We rarely account for the function of furniture beyond supporting our daily patterns, those daily patterns that become imprinted on our objects quite literally through wear. Less visible are our associations with these objects, able to capture the spirit of squeezing into the same chair to read with your sister, or smelling the bindings of your first few books on the shelf. Furniture is passed down as a history of its own, not so different from oral, written, or sung stories shared by a culture. A familial culture is created through the generational use of these objects, gaining scratches and new imprints with each passing owner, and a composite culture is generated as we seek furniture with stories separate from our own. The joy in finding vintage or used furniture is in the mystery of the previous users and our ability to imagine the life a sofa has lived before coming into ours.
Projecting and imagining these stories has its own magic—we are able to curate a spatial narrative in our homes that lives between reality and our imagination. Homemaking, in the most modern sense of the word, has become the process of selectively choosing what we live in, what we see everyday, finding furniture and objects that make our inhabited spaces feel like home. An important part of this process, now, is the design of highly functional and expressive contemporary furniture. An admiration of furniture grows from the appreciation of how physical surroundings interplay with our everyday, and the creation of special, useful objects to facilitate living. And in this interaction, the art of designing furniture has its place. Making furniture has always been, and continues to be, an incredible art form and outlet for hand making. Creating functional and beautiful furniture is not based only in aesthetics, but true usefulness - there is extreme beauty in creating furniture that needs no explanation or instruction, that fits the body perfectly and has a clear use. Sloping the seat of a chair just so, making an armrest the perfect height, defending against wobbles, making furniture to be incredibly useful is often far from the mind of the user.
a list of objects — set of coasters
wood draped over steel frame
terracotta pot table
tiny floral armchair
In conversation with Marina Peng, an alumna and furniture designer (among many other things), we discussed the desire of designers to create special objects that will live in our memories just as vibrantly as the memories themselves, and the consideration of future relevance and use in the design process. Initially, a designer hopes to create something functional, durable, usable, which is paired with an expressive process of making. Working out wobbles, designing for comfort and use, she spoke to the idea that, just as designers forty or fifty years ago were creating objects in the hopes of relevancy and continued use, so are designers today. Simultaneously though, designers are artists with strong visual connections, preferences and styles, each with a signature aesthetic, and furniture is art. Strongly linked to both sculpture and ceramics, Marina spoke about the recent work of Eny Lee Parker, a designer currently working in Savannah, Georgia, who centers her furniture work around the potter’s wheel. Building up terracotta bases that are functional vessels, then capping them with glass to create surfaces, Parker plays between traditional methods of making and modern assembly to create useful, meaningful objects that are exquisitely hand made.
Herself favoring the ability of furniture to form around contrast, Marina’s designs are often oriented around a play between strong, linear edges and heavy organic forms – noting that even though furniture style may now be less ornate and more material focused, each designer’s practice is grounded in a history of making and hoping. The growing force of women in design, and specifically furniture design, has created a new balance in the homemaking process. Full circle involvement from design to use creates an expanded realm for women to support and engage in personalized space making. Objects tailored for custom use necessitate a deep understanding of how an individual uses space and relies on things for daily support. Object making, furniture making, thing making, becomes very sensitive and reactive to individuals, when ultimately we just want what we choose and make to be cherished.
Kale Yeah writing D A N A B E R G E R photography G R A C E W A N G
imon Lusky, head chef of the Saint Louis Cardinals, co-founded Revel Kitchen with his wife Angelica. Revel Kitchen is a fast-casual restaurant for health-minded individuals, but the space is foremost an outlet of self-expression, and a home for Simon and Angelica’s passion for culinary arts and nutrition.
after his first off-season working with the Cardinals. With an original customer base of ten athletes and a lease for a small commercial kitchen on Cherokee Street, overwhelming interest from the community drove the kitchen’s expansion to a full-service restaurant serving anyone—not just athletes—looking for a satisfying, healthy meal.
Having originally studied culinary arts, Simon decided to pursue a second degree in nutrition during his sophomore year of college at Johnson and Wales University. Driven by a desire to improve his own health, the addition of a nutrition program changed Simon’s life both physically and mentally. As he approached his senior year of college and considered career opportunities, Simon looked to combine his culinary and nutrition backgrounds. He found an internship with the St. Louis Cardinals, and seven years later, he hasn’t looked back.
While Simon loves cooking up an Asian-style cauliflower rice dish in the kitchen, he has enormous respect for the process of how food gets to your bowl. He’s a team player and prides himself on a network of cooperative farms that value mindful gardening and livestock. The food Simon prepares is simple, tasty, and fast: “there are no smoke and mirrors involved.” He lets the natural flavors come through. Simon’s motto: quality over quantity and a good team of sources.
When Simon began working for the Cardinals, he was struck by the lack of fresh, healthy food. His work was cut out for him. He started from ground zero working to transform the team’s diet. As expected, a shift in the diet plan (even changes as minor as replacing Heinz Ketchup with an organic version) was met with kick-back. While some were on board with Simon’s plan and had waited for this shift, others were dissatisfied. Simon’s answer? Don’t alienate anyone: “It’s important to build relationships with everyone, to be a team.” He’s well aware of health food stereotypes. While he constantly encounters beliefs that “healthy” means a raw and vegan diet, anything organic, or shopping at Trader Joe’s, Simon’s philosophy of health is real food made responsibly. What is real food? To Simon, real food is unprocessed, whole ingredients sourced ethically, cooked well and prepared simply. That’s exactly what you’ll find at Revel Kitchen (originally called Athlete Eats), an entrepreneurial venture that Simon and Angelica launched
Juggling 12-hour days cooking and prepping for the Cardinals, Revel Kitchen keeps Simon grounded. Just as others use photography or fashion design as creative outlets, Simon feels lucky to have a tangible space for expression. He serves kombucha because he likes kombucha; he only uses bowls because he prefers eating out of bowls rather than plates. His haircut hasn’t changed much for several years. It’s clear that his underlying values are simplicity and consistency, a philosophy that has served him well, as Revel Kitchen has enormous support from the St. Louis community and exciting plans for expansion. Simon’s healthy go-to order at Revel Kitchen: a green salad, Asian style with Mofu Tofu, paired with a half kombucha and fresh juice drink. You’ll likely find him eating out of a stainless-steel bowl but, once in a while, you might just catch him enjoying a favorite indulgence, a fluffy Boston Crème Pie.
THE LANGUAGE OF FLOWERS photography G R A C E W A N G creative direction K A R A L E N A D A V I S styling M I K K I J A N O W E R model G R A C E T E D D E R
F O R C E N T U R I E S , F LO W E R S H AV E B E E N U S E D A S A M E A N S O F C O M M U N I C AT I O N TO E X P R E S S A VA R I E T Y O F S E N T I M E N TS , F R O M PA S S I O N AT E LOV E , TO E V E R L A S T I N G F R I E N D S H I P, TO D E E P EST COND OLENCES. THE HEIGHT OF THIS TRADITION OCCURRED IN T H E VICTORIAN ERA , WHICH HAS B E E N R E C O R D E D E X T E N S I V E LY, B O T H B Y W R I T E R S O F T H E DAY A N D T H E G R E AT P O E T S O F H I S TO R Y, S U C H A S SHAKESPEARE AND WORDSWORTH. MELDING TOGETHER POETRY FROM THE 1839 BOOK THE LANGUAGE OF F L O W E R S W I T H O U R O W N P H O T O G R A P H Y, WE EXPLORE THIS FORGOTTEN LANG U A G E I N A L L I T S B E A U T Y.
BY A PROPHETIC POPPY LEAF I FOUND YOUR CHANGED AFFECTION, F O R I T GAV E N O S O U N D, THOUGH IN MY HAND STRUCK H O L LO W A S I T L AY; B U T Q U I C K LY W I T H E R E D , L I K E YO U R LO V E , A W AY.
F O R G E T- M E - N OT keep me in your memory
THIS PRETTY LITTLE FLOW’RET’S DYE OF SOFT CERULEAN BLUE, APPEARS AS IF FROM ELLEN’S EYE IT HAD RECEIVED ITS HUE THOUGH OCEANS NOW BETWIXT US ROAR, T H R O U G H D I S TA N T B E O U R L O T, ELLEN! THOUGH WE SHOULD MEET NO MORE, SWEET MAID, FORGET ME NOT! 63
IRIS I have a message
FROM THEIR BRILLIANT AND DIVERSIFIED COLOURS, RESEMBLING THOSE FOT HE RAINBOW, THESE B E AU T I F U L F LO W E R S H AV E B E E N N A M E D A F T E R T H E M E S S E N G E R O F T H E G O D S . I T I S W E L L K N O W T H AT T H E F A I R I R I S W A S T H E B E A R E R O F G O O D N E W S O N LY.
DAY L I LY coquetry (flirtation)
THIS FRAGILE BEAUTY IS MADE THE EMBLEM OF C O Q U E T R Y, B E C A U S E I T S F LO W E R S E L D O M L A S T S A S E C O N D D AYâ€¦
O’ER WASTE AND WOODLAND, ROCK AND PLAIN ITS HUMBLE BUDS UNHEEDED RISE; THE ROSE HAS BUT A SUMMER REIGN – THE DAISY NEVER DIES.
W H O T H AT E V E R C O U L D S I N G H A S N OT S U N G T H E R O S E ! T H E P O E T S H AV E N OT E X AG G E R AT E D I T S B E A U T Y, O R C O M P L E T E D I T S PA N E GY R I C . T H E Y H AV E CA L L E D I T DAU G H T E R O R H E AV E N , O R N A M E N T O F T H E E A R T H , G LO R Y O F S P R I N G : B U T W H AT E X P R E S SIONS COULD EVER DO JUSTICE TO THE CHARMS OF THIS BEAUTIFUL FLOWER!
FASHION AS LENS A CONVERSATION WITH FASHION HISTORY PROFESSOR RIKKI BYRD
writing K L A R A K O B Y L I N S K I photography G A B B Y C L I F F O R D
What drew you to fashion history in particular? Did you ever consider fashion design? I was never interested in fashion design. My mother is a fashion designer. My grandmother knew her way around a sewing machine and I’ve always been small so she always would sew up my clothes. My great-grandmother was a quilter. So I had this kind of matriarchal lineage of women who used their hands to make beautiful things, and when it came my turn I just was not about it! But I loved writing, so I went to journalism school at the University of Missouri. I knew I wanted to work in fashion, but I just wasn’t into the surface level. I always knew there was something else going on. What was most formative in your schooling? I got my bachelor‘s degree in journalism but I also had a minor in black studies. While researching my senior thesis, I found this Vogue archive, and at first I was just fascinated because these Vogues dated back to the 1800s and I’m really like a nerd for archives and archival materials. But then I started to get curious of course because I’m like ‘well where are the black women?’ I’m looking through present-day Vogue magazines and I’m like ‘where are the black women?’ So that’s where I started my questioning. When was the first black woman to appear on the cover of Vogue Magazine? 1974, Beverly Johnson. When was the first black woman to appear on the cover of any fashion publication? 1966. Danielle Luna appeared on the cover of British Vogue. I started this timeline of black women appearing on the cover, and once we get to 1974 with Beverly Johnson, it kind of filters off. So I kind of end my research paper asking ‘where did all the black women go?’, basically. I took a year off of school and during that year off, a black model who was popular in the 1960s/70s sent out this letter to the CFDA and all these international fashion councils basically saying the fashion industry is racist. There’s a lack of
representation on the runways and the advertising. And so that’s when that conversation about diversity in fashion started to become ubiquitous. But I was just like ‘you know, this conversation is just too surface-level because I’ve done the work to know that there’s a history here.’ And it’s interesting that this history is repeating itself. Before 1966 black women aren’t appearing on the cover of magazines and here we were in 2013 and they’re not appearing. So what’s going on? So that’s when I applied to grad school and my research focused on the commoditization of blackness in the fashion industry. And I traced it from the 1960’s to present-day. Do you still research that now? Yes! This summer I was invited to write a book chapter for an anthology coming out next year and I wrote about the ways in which black people have used fashion design as a strategy for self-liberation. So I began with Elizabeth Keckley, who was an enslaved woman–I don’t like to say slave–in St. Louis, who was an amazing seamstress and had a lot of rich society women in St. Louis as her clients. Her master was super poor and so would lend her out to make all these clothes. So she asked her master for freedom and he said it cost $1200, so she along with some of the clients that she had worked together and raised the money so she could purchase her freedom. Elizabeth Keckley decides she’s going to move to the North of course. She opens a school, and then she moves to D.C. and becomes the primary dressmaker for Mary Todd Lincoln. So I looked at her, then I looked at a designer named Patrick Kelly who was from Mississippi, moved to New York, became a fashion designer, then moved to Paris where he kind of became really popular. And he used derogatory imagery of black people as his marketing tool, kind of subverting that imagery. I closed out the chapter looking at a designer of the present day. His name is Herve John Raymond and he did a fashion
show on police brutality after Michael Brown was killed. And the consequences that he went through just doing that show. I also did some smaller projects where I looked at hip-hop and luxury fashion in relation to blackness and performances of blackness. Is there anything that fashion students aren’t learning? I think that we’re well past this acceptance of fashion as this kind of frivolous academic discipline, and fashion as kind of only design-related. Because I think that fashion is so much a part of visual culture that to ignore the ways that it intersects with representation and performances of gender and sexuality and performances of race, the intersection of fashion and economics... I think what’s so beautiful is that by using fashion as a lens to study these things allows us to rethink and reimagine academia. It allows us to reimagine these concepts and theories that we’ve been taught. And yes, they still work, but what new breath and what new life can we breathe into them when we use fashion as a lens? That’s what I love about art history, too, as a way of framing history through the study of material culture, art objects as representative of these bigger themes in what’s going on. What do you think of St. Louis fashion? Once I discovered the history of Elizabeth Keckley, that really fascinated me! And then I just recently discovered this woman named Kathy McKay who might have been enslaved in Jefferson City. And then she came to St. Louis and she dressed like a man to enlist in the army. And they didn’t know that she was a woman for a long time! So what’s been fun is finding these fashion narratives that are situated in St. Louis but have this super national context. One of Elizabeth Keckley’s dresses is on display at the Smithsonian! As far as currently, I don’t know. There’s some movement.
Do you have other fashion icons who’ve shaped your own personal style? Angela Davis. Solange. Audrey Hepburn definitely was the first. She doesn’t take herself too seriously. Even though she has this very uniform style, what I loved about seeing her in Breakfast at Tiffany’s was just like she let herself go, she kind of let herself loose a little bit. And the way she used clothing to explore that. You’ve written for Man Repeller? I’ve written for Man Repeller, Fashionista. I have something coming out with Racked soon. What is it like transitioning between a serious academic writing style and then writing more conversationally? Writing comes first for me, so it’s not difficult! It’s my first love, so whatever job I’m in, if it doesn’t allow me to continue writing I can’t do it! Is writing for these magazines and websites a nice balance to your more academic work? Yeah! And the things that I’m writing about on these media outlets are [still] related to my work. They’re not heavy [with] academic jargon. This summer I interviewed the costume designer for Dear White People and found out that she was also the costume designer for It’s a Different World and Living Single and all of these different black sitcoms in the 90’s. So it was cool to see that she’s dressed these multi-dimensional black characters. Right now I’m working on a story for Racked called ‘The Curious Case of Soul Food in Department Stores.’ I’ve found all of these different cases from the 1960s to present day where these department stores have incorporated soul food for various reasons. In the 60’s there was a show at Bergdorf Goodman called ‘Basic Black’ and they had all these black designers and models,
WHERE DID ALL THE BLACK WOMEN GO?
and they served all this soul food. Then I found out in 1993 the Woolworth’s on 125th Street in Harlem incorporated soul food into its menus because they had a flux of African American shoppers. And then last year Neiman Marcus sold $66 frozen collard greens as a part of their Christmas catalog. And black people on Twitter went insane! You can go buy collard greens for like a dollar at the grocery store. My work is fulfilling both in the classroom, but outside of it too, because it’s just like what I’m most adamant and passionate about is just getting people to think differently. I am grateful that I have had the opportunity to create all the classes that I teach, which is kind of an acknowledgement that academia is seeing right, that there is interest in these varying intersections. The fact that I’m able to teach a course in the African American Studies department is phenomenal. Having your teaching as part of the fashion design major is so important too. A lot of the things that we talked about in your class last year I think people haven’t really considered before. Right! Imagine how many designers, if they’re able to take a course on fashion and race, fashion and gender, fashion and the body, et cetera, how they’re able to incorporate their learning in their design practices. If they become the next Marc Jacobs, whoever, maybe they remember that class and say ‘Probably don’t want to put colorful dreadlocks on a cast of white models!’ How many people don’t have that knowledge? It’s exciting and fulfilling work. A lot of my classes are discussion-based, because there’s not a right or wrong. It’s a dialogue. We need an emphasis not only on the aesthetics of fashion, but on the deeper implications of the field. A dialogue that needs to be had, a dialogue that hasn’t been present in the fashion industry, but also within academia.
THE HEIRLOOM ROOM photography J O A C H I M V A T U R I creative direction K L A R A K O B Y L I N S K I styling M I K K I J A N O W E R models A D D A E M E L H U I S H , M I A B E N D Y clothing A C E O F H E A R T S V I N T A G E C L O T H I N G
DOWN THE STRETCH OF CHEROKEE STREET REFERRED TO AS ANTIQUE ROW, UNASSUMING STOREFRONTS GIVE WAY TO A T R E A S U R E T R OV E O F W E L L- LOV E D F U R N I T U R E , CLOTHES, AND SMALL OBJECTS, OFTEN NESTLED IN THE BUSY
C O U R T YA R D S
SALE SHOPS. MIA BENDY AND ADDAE MELHUISH GIVE A N E W B R E AT H O F L I F E TO T H E S E H E I R LO O M S A S T H E Y S T E P OUT I N A P PA R E L F R O M AC E O F H E A R T S V I N TAG E C LOT H I N G A N D P L AY H O U S E I N T H E N O O K S A N D C R A N N I E S O F T H E H E I R L O O M R O O M , A P A R T I C U L A R LY C H A R M I N G V E S T I G E O F H I S TO R Y.
Published on Nov 10, 2017