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IRIS COVET BOOK

WHAT IS IRIS COVET BOOK ? When we first began this publication, people were curious about why we picked the name Iris Covet Book. The iris of the eye, which controls light reception and vision, connotes our creative point of view which is bold, graphic, and visually impactful. The iris flower, symbol of monarchs and royalty, infers the desire for beauty and luxury which is reflected in our imagery. Yet it is the Greek goddess Iris, messenger of the gods, who we at Iris Covet Book most identify with. We strive to be a medium that shares personal narratives and ideas. _ Cov·et ( ' kəvət/)-verb: to yearn to possess or to have. We view “covet” as a synonym for aspiration. At Iris Covet Book, we aspire to bring our readers a diverse glimpse into the worlds and personalities of fashion, beauty, culture, philanthropy, and art. Artists and designers who are emerging in their craft, to legends who have become masters in their industries; we would like to amplify the stories of a full gamut of talented innovators. Iris Covet Book is a compilation of these stories, images, and people who we believe are aspirational, and we want to share it with the world. We believe sharing an individual’s story brings an important opportunity for us to listen and learn from one another. _ Our Fall Fashion Issue has been made into a shrine to honor the people, places, and things that we view exemplify the zeitgeist of the moment. Cindy Sherman’s photographs hold up a mirror to society and the viewer, and ask questions about persona and the making of identity. Bettina Rheims discusses sexuality, feminism, and gender in hauntingly personal portraits of the female form. The Blonds offer up their glamour and camp through delicately articulated works of demi-couture, and give us insight into their dream-like world. The fall fashion stories are about the styles, themes, and trends which we find the most tantalizing and covetable. This issue is for those who want to live in their own constructed fantasies of beauty.

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WWW.VALENTINO.COM


PUBLISHER

Irma Brindis EDITOR-IN-CHIEF/FASHION DIRECTOR

Marc Sifuentes marc@iriscovetbook.com

CREATIVE DIRECTOR/PHOTOGRAPHY DIRECTOR

Louis Liu

louis@iriscovetbook.com

ONLINE EDITOR

FEATURES EDITOR

ASSISTANT EDITOR

Pauline Snyder-Goodwin

Dustin Mansyur

Benjamin Price

NEW YORK SALES DIRECTOR

DIRECTOR OF OPERATIONS

ASSISTANT TO THE PUBLISHER

Max Goncharov

Adora Galas

Christina Abay

CONTRIBUTORS WRITERS: RALPH BENKO, LARRY BROOKSHIRE, GARRETT HUNTER, DUSTIN MANSYUR, BENJAMIN PRICE, GAIL RUBIN, CHELITO VILLAFLOR. PHOTOGRAPHERS: JHANE HOANG, KAO CHENG KAI. COLLIN KELLEY, DANNY LIM, DUSTIN MANSYUR, RODOLFO MICHEL, FRANCO SCHICKE, GREG SWALES, JAKE TOLER, JOHNNY VICARI, HAO ZENG. ADDITIONAL EDITORIAL CONTRIBUTORS: STYLISTS: RON HARTLEBEN, ANNA KATSANIS, LESLIE RIVAS. HAIR AND MAKE UP:GRACE AHN, DANIEL AVILAN, LYDIA BROCK, NARINA CHAN, HONEY, YUHI KIM, AUBRIE LAYNE, BIANCA LINETTE, PETER MATTELIANO, MIRIAM ROBSTAD, TAKUYA SUGAWARA, KENTO UTSUBO. CLOTHING AND ACCESSORIES: ADIDAS, ALEXANDER WANG- ELIZABETH LA BARBERA, BILLY REID- TIM CUSH AT MAGUIRE STEELE, BURBERRY- SARAH DEFIEUX, JACKIE SUMSKY, CALVIN KLEIN- KEVIN WINKLE, CAVALLI- GIADA MONTANO, COACH- DEVON JACKSON, DIOR- CRISTINA BOLIVAR, ETRO- KOURTNEY BOKAMPER , LOEWE- EMILY ROSE PR CONSULTING, MAO PR- MAURICIO PADILHA, MICHAEL KORS- LUCY ZUCKERMAN AND CHARLOTTE BUCHANAN, MISSONI- BENJAMIN ROUSSEAU AT CM MEDIA PR, MIU MIU- MADELYNN, PRADA- JONATHAN WACHTEL, ASHLEY CEDENO, SANDRO- GIOVANNY BAHAMUNDI AT KRUP GROUP, VERSACE- RYAN PETZ AT PR CONSULTING TALENTS: DEVIN ALEXANDER, PAOLO ANCHISI, SARAH BLAKEMORE, LOGAN BROOME, LEO ELLER, GEORGIA FOWLER, WILLIAM HAWKINS, BENNETT JONAS, DANNY LIM, CARLY MOORE, PHILIPP PRÖLS, BRAEDEN WRIGHT SPECIAL THANKS TO : NEIMAN MARCUS- TY LAROCHE, LAURA NEIMAN, LAURA BONNER, HILLARY STRONG, STACEY SWIFT, SAKS FIFTH AVENUE- TIJUANA HARVEY, ABRAMS PUBLISHER- GABBY FISHER, DEBORAH COLTON GALLERY, LARRY BROOKSHIRE, SIMON AND SCHUSTER-GALLERY PUBLICITY, TASCHEN - JULIE CONSTANTINE, RENE GARZA, ADRIAN HURTADO, WILHELMINA MANAGEMENT, IMG MODELS, FORD MODELS - SAM DOERFLER, SOCIETY MANAGEMENT, SOUL MANAGEMENT, PAGE PARKES AGENCY, CINDY SHERMAN - CHRISTINE CHOI, THE BROAD, PHILIP KAISER, KAREN LEE - EQUINOX, MAKEUP BY DIEGO, LE COLONIAL - NICOLE ROUTHIER, JOE KING, PALAZZO DAMA - KARLA OTTO, EVAN ROME, GARRETT HUNTER, GAIL RUBIN.

WEBSITE/INSTAGRAM IRISCOVETBOOK.COM/@IRISCOVETBOOK

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REPRODUCTION IN PART OR IN WHOLE WITHOUT WRITTEN PREMISSION IS STRICTLY PROHIBITED. IRIS COVET BOOK IS A REGISTERED TRADEMARK OF IRIS PUBLICATIONS LLC. COPYRIGHT © 2016 IRIS PUBLICATIONS LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. PRINTED IN U.S.A. IRIS COVET BOOK IS PUBLISHED 6 TIMES A YEAR BY IRIS PUBLICATIONS LLC.

Editorial and creative direction are executed by XTheStudio.com, a New York based creative and production studio that provides creative direction, graphic design and shoot production. For inquiry visit xthestudio.com or email contact@xthestudio.com *VERIFIED AUDIT PENDING

MAGAZINE PRINTED FROM RESPONSIBLE PAPER SOURCES. PLEASE RECYCLE THIS PUBLICATION.

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The magazine you're holding in your hand is part of what shapes contemporary culture. Curating with sensibility and good taste. Maybe you are too. Since its birth in 1979, I'm proud to say that our company has been a positive catalyst for cultural change. The first brand to embrace and collaborate with modern artists starting with Andy Warhol and Keith Haring in 1985-86; and the first major brand to embrace and support the gay community around the same time - well before that idea became popular. Now we are on a mission to shape culture again. Elyx is the new luxury vodka from Absolut. It's quite simply the best we ever made and we really do distill it by hand. But having the world's best sipping vodka is not enough for us - we want to change the frosty and superficial bling culture that has existed in our business for the last 15 years too.  How? Well, when you break it down, Elyx is made from over 50% pure well water, and access to safe water is a luxury for 1.8 billion people around the world. That’s why we’ve partnered with a leading international nonprofit organization, Water For People, on a five year mission to reduce that number by at least 100,000. As a way of getting there we will provide a week's supply of safe water (around 140 liters) whenever we sell a bottle of Elyx in the US. We have already raised more than $400,000. So we are not just filling our own glasses anymore, we are now helping fill the glasses of people in need with a drink that’s far more important than vodka.    As a reader of Iris Covet Book you already know that cultural movements don’t happen in isolation. They are created by groups of passionate thought leading individuals. That’s why I would like to thank Marc Sifuentes and the amazing team at Iris for donating this page to our mission. And I hope you'll join it too.

Jonas Tahlin CEO, Absolut Elyx Jonas@absolutelyx.com @jonastahlin  

proud partners of  

ENJOY RESPONSIBLY Absolut Elyx® Vodka. Product of Sweden.  42.3% Alc./Vol. Distilled from grain. ©2015 Imported by Absolut Spirits Co., New York, NY.


IRIS COVET BOOK

48 FEATURES

THE BLONDS

Every Fashion Week they produce a parade of bombshells with nipped waists, skyhigh heels, and fabulous blonde wigs piled into the heavens. NYC based design duo, Phillipe and David Blond, has entranced Iris and their clientele with their fabulous personality as well as a hefty dose of crystals and metallic. On the left: The Blonds photography by Johnny Vicari. On Phillipe, Gown by The Blonds, Bracelet by Michael Spirito, Shoes by Christian Louboutin. On David, Tank Top by Ann Demeulemeester, Jeans by Trash & Vaudeville, Bracelet by Stella Trujillo.

DEPARTMENTS 08

MANIFESTO

15

MOST COVETED

26

COVET BOOK FAVORITES

FALL FASHION 84

IRIS SPOTLIGHT 32

IRIS MAN

36

IRIS WOMAN

40

EMERGING

46

ICON

150

ART

174

FITNESS

106

INSIDER

112

LAST LOOK

102

JOANNE HERRING

66

BETTINA RHEIMS

76

KEN DOWNING

154

158

GIMME (CARLY) MOORE!

CALVIN KLEIN X MEN OF SOUL Calvin Klein, a young, free-spirited, and provocative design house teamed up with the smoldering faces of New York’s Soul Artist Management.

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EXCESS-ORIZE Too much is never enough! Fall is coming and it is time to wake the furs from their slumber, pile on your favorite bags and coats, and embrace the desire for excessive luxury.

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DINING : LE COLONIAL

TRAVEL: PALAZZO DAMA The Eternal City has been a center of art, beauty, culture, religion, and life. There is no better way to enjoy the bounty that Rome has to offer than in the illustrious Palazzo Dama.

Nipped waists, voluminous shoulders, and skyhigh legs. Model Carly Moore shows us fashion is all about volume and exaggerated proportions. 120

Bettina Rheims analyzes gender and sexuality through her own provocative and intimate lens. Photographing unguarded starlets, plush toys, and strippers, and producing iconic photographs alongside Guy Bourdin and Helmut Newton, Bettina’s work is a labor of love and lust.

A longtime fixture in the realm of international cuisine, theVietnamese house of haute cuisine is opening its newest post in Houston, Texas.

NIGHT WALK The combination of athletic-wear and ready-to-wear creates a tempting juxtaposition between the fantasy of nightlife and the reality of the day to come.

Joanne Herring is world famous for the Cinderella life she has lived. Revealed here for the first time her true Secret Identity: The Fairy Godmother.

Bridging the gap between runway to reality, the Neiman Marcus SVP and Fashion Director is one of the industry’s foremost sages of what’s new, now, and next in the glittering world of fashion.

C'EST CHIC Parisian glamour: an elegant, sophisticated, and effortless lifestyle of champagne and bedroom eyes. This season is all about nonchalant beauty and style.

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HOME: BROOKSHIRE RESIDENCE

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DESIGNER PROFILE: GARRETT HUNTER

Serving as a vessel of time travel from the past to the present, Larry Brookshire has turned his early 20th century mansion into a bridge between antiquity and modernity. From white fur chairs to multicolored art pieces mixed with more familiar accents of leather and wood, the environments which Hunter creates are exercises in artistic curation.


IRIS COVET BOOK

JOANNE HERRING

THE BLONDS

KEN DOWNING

JOANNE HERRING

KEN DOWNING

THE BLONDS

Photography by Greg Swales Joanne Herring photographed at the Brookshire residence in Houston, TX. Sunglasses by Versace, Leopard-Print Belted Long Fur Coat by Tom Ford, all available at Neiman Marcus.

Photography by Dustin Mansyur Ken Downing photographed in studio in New York City.

Photography by Johnny Vicari Phillipe and David Blond photographed in studio in New York City. Gown and Headpiece by The Blonds.

Lenticular Cover

Lenticular Cover

C'EST CHIC

GIMME (CARLY) MOORE!

NIGHT WALK

GIMME (CARLY) MOORE!

C'EST CHIC

NIGHT WALK

Photography by Franco Schicke Model Carly Moore @ Society Management Shearling Aviator Jacket by Burberry.

Photography by Hao Zeng Model Giorgia Fowlers @ IMG Models Gown by Etro, Earrings by Ana Khouri, Red Fur Coat by Cheng-huai Chuang.

Photography by Danny Lim Paolo Anchisi @ Ford Models Jacket by Prada, T-Shirt by North Face.

SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER

COVERS 13


IRIS COVET BOOK

Frida Kahlo Fendi Fantasy The alluring flowers, colors, and free-flowing lines remind one of the enticing qualities of Frida Kahlo’s iconic paintings. Kahlo’s “Sun and Life”, a painting about fertility and the beauty of sex and nature, would pair quite nicely with this purse. Any woman who appreciates painting and sculpture and craft would be remiss without this stunning fantasy of a bag. Fendi has always delivered beautiful works of art that have been painstakingly crafted, much like the many layers of oil paint in any master’s work of art, to appear effortless and stunning. With bursts of color and texture, this accessory is more reminiscent of a fine fresco than just a bag. Fendi Peekaboo Large Embroidered Velvet Bag, Black Multi Available at neimanmarcus.com, $12,500.00

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IRIS COVET BOOK

MOST COVETED LIKE COCO CHANEL, FRESHLY TANNED UPON RETURNING FROM A HOLIDAY IN CANNES, WE RETURN IN WAKE OF THE AUTUMNAL RISING WITH OUR FALL FASHION ISSUE, AND THE FUTURE’S BRIGHT! GOLD RUSH ON THE HORIZON! WITH WINGED HEELS GUIDING YOUR WAY, VERSACE SUNGLASSES PROTECTING YOUR GAZE, AND BALMAIN HAIR COUTURE GUARDING YOUR HAIR FROM THE ELEMENTS OF SEASONAL SHIFTING, OUR MOST COVETED ITEMS ALL BEAR THE “MIDAS TOUCH”. THE ASCENSION OF METALLICS PLUS MAXIMALISM IS SURE TO KEEP YOUR WARDROBE FROM FALLING DRAB OR MUDDY. LET GO OF YOUR BAGGAGE AND OPT FOR FREEDOM WITH YVES SAINT LAURENT LOVE CROSSBODY BAG IN GOLD. ALL THAT GLITTERS IS GOLD AND THIS SEASON’S GILDED TREND IS CERTAIN TO KEEP YOU SHINING!

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MOST COVETED

WOMEN’S

WATCH BVLGARI 33MM SERPENTI TUBOGAS WATCH

Since Eve’s temptation in the garden, we have been fascinated by the ancient and mythic symbol of a snake, so it is no surprise that Bvlgari has used this creature as inspiration for a line of beautiful watches. Descending from an ancient family of Greek silversmiths, founder Sotirio Bvlgari manufactured precious silver objects before he began creating fine jewelry in 1884. Today Bvlgari is coveted as a premiere manufacturer in jeweled confections, and this watch is no exception. Find yourself trapped within the gaze of the serpent as its stainless steel and 18-karat pink gold links coil around your wrist. $13,700.00, available at Neiman Marcus.

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IRIS COVET BOOK

WOMEN’S

SHOES

GIUSEPPE ZANOTTI COLINE WINGS LEATHER HIGH-HEEL SANDAL With feet clad in gold metallic leather, it is hard not to feel like Nike the goddess of victory, or our namesake Iris, the messenger goddess. Especially with Giuseppe Zanotti’s ultra luxurious sandals. Heralding from a small village on Italy’s Adriatic Riviera, Giuseppe Zanotti’s talent and craftsmanship echoes the same historic, renowned fine cobblers of his birthplace. Soar into a party on the wings of victory and style in these fabulous heels, every woman will be blinded from your golden shine. $1,595.00, available at Neiman Marcus.

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MOST COVETED

WOMEN’S

SUNGLASSES VERSACE MONOCHROMATIC SHIELD BROW-BAR SUNGLASSES

The mythical Gorgon, famed for her devastating stony glare and locks of serpents, has imbued her petrifying gaze into this fabulous piece of eyewear. The symbol for the house of Versace, it is only appropriate that her visage is also emblazoned onto these great gold glasses. With gold, reflective glasses shielding your eyes, you too will astonish men and women as Medusa once did, but not with quite as deadly eects. The combo metal and plastic frames with heavily graphic one piece lens gives these glasses a particularly modern edge. Everyone needs some metallic to make it through the cloudy days of Fall. $280.00, available at Neiman Marcus.

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IRIS COVET BOOK

WOMEN’S

BAG

YVES SAINT LAURENT GOLD MONOGRAM SMALL LOVE CROSSBODY BAG The Rio Olympics have ended, but if you still thirst for the excitement of seeing a gold medal dangle from an Olympians neck, then hopefully this beautiful little bag can provide some of that same joy as it swings by your side. Yves Saint Laurent, a house renowned for its innovation, luxury, and impeccable taste never fails to bring new, fresh, and fun garments and accessories. Emblazoned with the signature YSL logo, crafted from fine metallic calfskin leather, and accented with gold hardware - this bag will make any woman feel better than an olympian, more like a goddess. $1,250, available at Neiman Marcus.

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IRIS COVET BOOK

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MOST COVETED

WOMEN AND MEN'S

HAIR CARE BALMAIN HAIR COUTURE

As part of the Parisian fashion house, Balmain Hair Couture has become a staple not only for Balmain, but for many other internationally renowned designers to coif, pouf, and texturize their models hair to compliment their designs. Balmain is proud to present this exciting, high-end, luxurious collection of shampoos, conditioners, sprays, creams, and more to make your hair stand out from the crowd. Like Balmain’s runway designs, Balmain Hair Couture was created to produce the luxury of Parisian beauty and extravagant lifestyle with just the bare essentials. Accentuate every curl, fly-away, and flowing strand with just a spritz of Hair Couture for the perfect, edgy, sexy look.

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IRIS COVET BOOK

WOMEN’S

SKIN CARE ESTEE LAUDER RE-CREATION FACE CREME SET Since 1946, Estee Lauder has provided top-tier beauty products to women around the world with one mantra always in mind, “Every woman can be beautiful”. These words were first spoken by Mrs. Estee Lauder decades ago, but still hold true to this day; however, now women have much more help through the wonders of science and botanicals. The Re-Creation Face Creme is one-of-a-kind skincare that boasts sustainably cultivated Glacial BioExtract™, proven in vitro to help skin boost its natural elastin production. The Re-Nutriv Life Re-Newing Molecules™ help repair and restore skin's energized, radiant appearance. With this luxurious creme, you will swear you had a change of face. $1,200, available at Neiman Marcus.

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IRIS COVET BOOK

BOLD, GRAPHIC AND VISUALLY IMPACTFUL A DIVERSE GLIMPSE INTO THE WORLDS AND PERSONALITIES OF FASHION, BEAUTY, TRAVEL, CULTURE, AND ART.

C'EST CHIC C'EST CHIC

AVAILABLE IN PRINT AND DIGITAL FOR MORE INFORMATION GO TO IRISCOVETBOOK.COM

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IRIS COVET BOOK

COVET BOOK

FAVORITES KING MIDAS X OSCAR DE LA RENTA Oscar de la Renta Strapless Embellished-Bodice Metallic Gown From King Midas’s mythic touch to the California Gold Rush and the Rio Olympics, the entity of gold has become one of the most highly lusted after substances on earth. Oscar de la Renta has created a sumptuous blend of gold, silk, and shining paillettes in this strapless embellished gown. Cutting a lithe, lean figure in a stunning metallic brocade, this nobility worthy gown is in itself a work of the highest quality dressmaking. One can clearly see the de la Renta atelier’s roots of apprenticeships with Balenciaga and Lanvin, but added to the unique European style from the couture houses is the flair of sleek New York ideas of femininity. With Oscar by your side, it is difficult not to feel like a queen turned gold. $10,690, available at Neiman Marcus

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C CO O VV EE TT BB O OO O KK FF A A VV O O RR II TT EE SS

A. LANGE & SOHN A.Lange & Sohn 40MM 18K Pink Gold on Brown Leather Strap From one of Houston’s favorite jewelry retailers, Lewis Jewelers, comes a watch that will soon be a favorite. Crafted by A. Lange & Sohn, the famed German timepiece company, since 1815 this watch has become a part of a history of meticulously and expertly crafted timekeeping instruments. The design is characterised by traditional style elements: blued hands, Arabic numerals and the railway-track minute scale, and Pink Gold hardware, it is a worthy of anyone looking to be a part of a rich and beautifully forged history. Available at Lewis Jewelers in Houston, TX. Price upon request (281-204-0555)

THE GIRL WITH THE LOWER BACK TATTOO BY AMY SCHUMER The Emmy Award-winning comedian, actress, and writer has taken the entertainment world by storm with a shocking blend of smart, satirical humor. Schumer is now out to win readers’ hearts with a candid selection of extremely personal and observational essays. In The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo, Amy shares her past through stories about her teenage years, her family, relationships, and sex. Amy imparts her own views on love and marriage and proves to be a big-hearted, brave, and thoughtful storyteller that will leave you nodding your head in recognition, laughing out loud, and sobbing uncontrollably—but only because it’s over. From heartfelt stories to the downright audacious and her impossibly hilarious observations, this book has universal appeal. Published by Gallery Books, Available at Barnes & Noble.

SILVER LINING SHOES Jimmy Choo Peter Formal Patent Leather Shoe with Metallic Band Since 1996, Jimmy Choo has been synonymous with Hollywood glamour, chicness, and sleek style. However, it is not only the starlets who have been lucky enough to wear the brand’s creations, these fabulous styles are available for men to don and feel just as beautiful on the red carpet. These patent leather dress shoes with metallic fabric band across the vamp would give any man’s classic Cuccinelli or Prada suit an extra kick, and set him apart from all of the other penguins. For twenty years Jimmy Choo has helped women strut as if they were at the Oscars, now it is time for men to have that same sense of individuality and pride in their footwear. $750, available at Neiman Marcus.

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IRIS COVET BOOK

ROBERTO COIN 18k White & Rose Gold Fantasia Pave Diamonds Crossover Bangle, 27.47 TCW Roberto Coin began his career because he had an insatiable need to create beauty, so he left his job as a hotel manager and began work to create his spectacular, jeweled empire. This cuff is just one of 600 pieces that the Coin atelier produces each year, but it still stands on its own as a beautiful, precious masterpiece. The artistry behind classical jewelry craftsmanship still thrives in the hands of Roberto Coin and his gifted jewelry makers. Smithed with 18-karat rose and white gold, writhing white diamond-encrusted bands, with 27.47 total diamond carat weight; this cuff is a true work of art and a statement to the world of elegant excellence. $110,000, available at Neiman Marcus.

THE NOTEBOOK Prada Cahier Notebook Shoulder Bag Miuccia Prada has made the Italian fashion house a symbol for sophistication, individuality, and a very academic approach to style. Her newest collection is a study in academia, altered aesthetics, and a play with classical tropes. This bag, modeled off the look and feel of a leather-bound notebook, is a beautiful reminder of daydreaming at school, journaling in your diary, and reading in your bedroom. As fall comes closer, we all become a little nostalgic when we see the leaves change and the kids rush to school, and what a perfect way to celebrate those memories than with a little memento from Miuccia. $2,660, available at Neiman Marcus.

WOMEN BY SLIM AARONS Slim Aarons: Women explores the central subject of Slim Aarons’s career—the extraordinary women who inhabited the upper echelons of society, the arts, fashion, and Hollywood from the late 1940s through the 1980s. Showcasing beautiful women at their most glamorous in some of the most dazzling locations across the globe. Additionally, Slim Aarons: Women features a host of fabulous celebrities who populate his most iconic images, including Audrey Hepburn, Jackie Kennedy, Diana Vreeland, and Marilyn Monroe. The photographs have been culled from Slim’s vast archive to present little-known material that has never been published before. Laura Hawk, one of Slim's closest colleagues and his longtime assistant, provides detailed captions, recounting observations and anecdotes gleaned from working with him for more than a decade. October 29, 2016 would have been Slim’s 100th birthday; now is the ideal time to celebrate his extraordinary legacy. Slim Aarons: Women By Laura Hawk Published by Abrams

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COVET BOOK FAVORITES

Film producer Valerie Cates, Marbella, 1976. ©Slim Aarons/Getty Images

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IRIS COVET BOOK

This Page: Lady Daphne Cameron sits on a tiger pelt in the trophy room of Laddie Sanford’s Palm Beach house, 1959. ©Slim Aarons/Getty Images Opposite Page: Donna Stefanella Vanni Calvello di San Vincenzo in her family’s residence, Palazzo Gangi, Palermo, 1984. ©Slim Aarons/Getty Images

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COVET BOOK FAVORITES

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IRIS COVET BOOK

A conversation with the

IRIS MAN TILMAN FERTITTA With his brilliant intuition for business and keen sense of navigation through the high-pressure world of property development and management, Tilman Fertitta has secured a multi-billion dollar empire while continuing to mentor novice entrepreneurs on the second season of his hit show Billion Dollar Buyer. Photography by Jhane Hoang | Art Direction by Louis Liu Interview by Marc Sifuentes

S

ince childhood, Tilman Fertitta had dreams of becoming a business owner, an odd desire for a young boy; however, it was foreshadowing what his future would become. By age twelve, he was working for his father in the family restaurant, trying to send the patriarch home regularly with aspirations of running the place himself. Born in Galveston Texas, Fertitta spent his formative years working, and that passion for hard work has not died down and continues to become increasingly fiery. Work became such an integral aspect for Tilman’s life that it overshadowed his pursuit of higher education, but he viewed traditional education as a tiresome obstacle to his path towards success. Fertitta has enriched his community and given opportunity to thousands of people through his entrepreneurial and charitable endeavors. However, it is not without merit for he is a man whose natural intuition and savvy could produce corporate mergers, brilliant investments, and millions of dollars in his bank account before age thirty. Now Tilman Fertitta is the sole owner, chairman and CEO of Fertitta Entertainment, Inc., the mother company to both the restaurant empire Landry’s and the Golden Nugget Casinos. Now Tilman Fertitta has taken time to sit down with Iris and discuss his meteoric rise and estimated $3.2 billion fortune.

Let’s talk about how you started in the world of business, and what was the first venture you started on your own? How did you fund it? It’s kind of funny because I did three scenes today for my show, and while I was having a conversation with one of the contestants, I told her you have to go get a line of credit. You know I remember in 1979 going to a bank, scared to death, to borrow $6,000. That’s how I started. A $6,000 loan, no guarantee, just me. The

first business I was ever in was a women’s clothing store. I had a cousin who was in the women’s ready-to-wear business in Dallas. I would go and hang out with him, and one day I asked him what he did with all of these samples. He said we just get rid of them at the end of market, so I offered to buy them from him and start my own store. It was called the Sample Factory and it was my first store, my first business really.

How did it develop from there? Well, my next business was with these people in the Shaklee Vitamin industry, and I met them and opened the Shaklee Vitamin Stores all over Houston. By the time I was twenty-one, I had won a free cadillac selling Shaklee Vitamins. Then I got into the building business, home building and then developing shopping centers, and by the time I was twenty-six I had built a hotel in Dallas. I did that for a few years then I was an investor in a restaurant and bought all of my partners out in 1986, and then I just started building restaurants. In the development business the world fell apart in Texas in 1985 because of the economic recession. From 1986 to 1993 we just built Landry Seafood restaurants in Houston, Corpus Christi, Dallas, Louisiana and a few other cities. I went public in August of 1993, and by the next morning I was worth one-hundred-million dollars. It was a crazy stock market, and the rest is history. The hardest thing to do is make the first one-hundred-million, I know it sounds easy but it isn’t! (laughs)

Sounds like you took a risk with the economy tanking in 1985, would you say that a lot of your success is based on risk taking? Absolutely! You cannot be scared. If you want to be an entrepreneur and make

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big money you cannot be scared. It is a different world today, so many young people are working in tech and happen to work at the right companies at the right time, and they’re worth hundreds of millions of dollars, but to do it by sticks and bricks...you can’t have any fear.

Well, going back again to your childhood, your father owned a restaurant and you used to work there as a child, did you ever feel like you didn’t want to get into the restaurant business because of that? I never really thought about it. I was always working there, I even tried to send him home so I could run it. I was twelve. (laughs) I have always loved working. I remember growing up in Galveston in my early years, working at my dad’s restaurant and then working at the pier as a lifeguard, which I now own and renamed Pleasure Pier. I have always worked. I had done every job that there was to do in Galveston by the time I graduated high school. It didn’t bother me to work. People ask me, why are you always working, and I say, "What else am I going to do? Sit on an island?"

You have four children, will any of them be taking over the family business? I’ve got one whose last day of college is today, and he will be here tomorrow. All four of my kids love the business, it’s all they’ve ever known. They grew up with it. 48 Hours did a piece on the family about thirteen to fourteen years ago about how the kids had an influence on the business. They all want to be involved in the company.

We want to talk about the show you are now hosting and starring in, Billion Dollar Buyer, how did that start?


IRIS MAN

Tilman Fertitta photographed at the construction site of Landry’s new corporate office and Tilman’s mixed-use Houston tower - The Post Oak in Houston, TX.

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IRIS COVET BOOK

I had always guest hosted on CNBC, and they started a primetime a few years ago and asked if I would be interested in having a show but I just never thought it was the right time. But when CNBC contacted me about this and told me it would be a business type show and I could have some fun and be myself and it would be educational for people I felt that it was the right time for me to get into it. It is really amazing, you know, I was having dinner last night and this waiter came up to me and he was talking to me about his business and he told me "I learned so much from your show." That’s what I wanted it to be, fun but educational.

Have you learned anything yourself from

doing the show? You know what’s good about it? I just got back from shooting in New York and I did three boardroom scenes, and you just have to always be on, so mentally you’re just whipped at the end. The world is changing and I have to stay up with it. We have to keep up with all of these young companies, and the show is keeping me on the cusp of what is really going on in the entrepreneurial world. For me, it’s about seeing all of these small companies, and seeing what is next and what is cutting edge.

You seem to have had a very fast rise in the entrepreneurial world. When your company started taking off, were you ever overwhelmed by the seemingly “overnight” success?

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No. I never thought it was growing too fast. Have there been ups and downs? Absolutely. We’ve just been lucky enough to have more ups than downs (laughs), and the ups were big ups and the downs were little downs. I was very fortunate with my business decisions and it panned out very well for me. I never try to bite off more than I can chew.

As a busy entrepreneur, with a new TV show, buildings always going up, and the daunting task of managing all of these properties, you still manage to add more and more to your plate. What new and exciting concepts can we expect from you in the future? Well, I am building a bunch of new concepts out here in Houston, and it will be just


T I L M A N F E RT I T TA

fire station. When the city said that they wanted to get rid of it, I walked in there and I knew I wanted to do a big public aquarium on the ground floor, and a huge restaurant with a large tank on the second floor which would help draw people in, third floor I’d do a private dining room, and the fourth would be support. Outside I’d build a few amusements and make it fun. Then they said we also have this old waterworks building and that I couldn’t tear it down, but that I could do something in it. That’s when I came up with the idea to put a giant shark tank inside and have a train that goes through it. I am very fortunate that I have a wild imagination. (laughs)

What would you say is the most important characteristic a business person should have? Well, we’re all business people. What has made me successful is my drive, and number two I understand the operational side of the business, but yet I know how to create. I can build from my imagination, and then I can operate it. Usually a developer is a developer, and they get tenants to maintain the property. Nowhere else in America is someone able to maintain the restaurants, hotels, entertainment, etc. in one property development.

You’re a contributor to several charities, do you have any that you hold close? Tilman Fertitta photographed at the construction site of Landry’s new corporate office and Tilman’s mixed-use Houston tower - The Post Oak in Houston, TX.

unbelievable. Downtown we’re building a new Grotto, and it will be nothing like the current one. It’s a real popular restaurant, but I am doing it with a twist and want to cater to the younger people. I am always building. I am building a couple of other unique restaurants inside of the hotel properties. I am always very excited about what is new and cutting edge, and it is really my mission to bring those ideas to Houston.

How does your team come up with a concept and how do you know that that’s the direction you want to take? Everything usually comes out of my head, and I have a wonderful team that’s been with me forever. Like the Aquarium restaurant downtown, that used to be a

Number one right now for me, I am Chairman of Houston Children's Charity and have been for many years. I love it because we are a children’s charity that does not operate in a silo, only focusing on one thing. We do multiple things for the community, like buying vans for people who are mentally or physically handicapped so their family can drive them to services that they need. I love being Chairman of the Houston Police Foundation. Yesterday I approved the purchase of four hundred specialized vests for officers, so they could operate more safely. Of course, the University of Houston is also very special to me and I am Chairman of that board as well. I just gave twenty million dollars for them to build a new basketball arena. I love doing stuff for the police, children, the university.

How do you think the industry has changed over the years? Well, the whole industry has changed everywhere. Texas is very diverse, you have to cater to a lot of different people, and the industry is always changing, but it is very easy to do business here. I love

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Texas, I love the uniqueness of Texas, and I love being from Texas. No matter where you go, if you say you’re from Texas it makes people raise their eyebrows.

What’s the best advice anyone has ever given you? I’ve never had that one mentor, but I have really tried to listen to a lot of other people. There is not one singular thing or piece of advice that has really struck me, but I try to learn every day. I want to wake up every morning trying to be a little smarter than the day before. A lot of young people today, who are very smart, don’t appreciate history. When you have done something a lot of times, you are just better at it.

What is your personal definition of success? Anybody who does what they are passionate about very well, and who exceeds expectations, is successful to me. I have said this many times in speeches, “money is not a definition of success.” You can be a great artist, a great musician, you can take the engine of a car apart and put it back together --that is pretty damn talented to me. I can’t even change the oil to my car! (laughs) A lot of people make money accidentally, but I believe that it is what you do and how you do it, not what you get in return that makes you successful.

If not business, what other career paths would you have taken? None. (laughs) I’m not good at anything else! I think we are all born with a certain amount of talent and everyone just needs to find what they do very well. I was born to work in business, and I was blessed enough to find that out at a very early age and go with my gut to pursue it.

What advice would you give to a young entrepreneur who wants to open a business? If you get a partner, don’t get one that knows what you know. If you’re strong in operations get someone who knows sales, and vice versa. Whatever you think it is going to cost to stay in business, you better have a lot more capital. People usually fail because they are under capitalized. It is important to understand your flaws and weaknesses so you can compensate for them. I find the most successful entrepreneurs are people who do not believe that they can do it all. ‡


IRIS COVET BOOK

A conversation with the

IRIS WOMAN DEBORAH COLTON Philanthropist. Art curator. Gallery Owner. Deborah Colton has become a force in the art world, and has dedicated her life’s work to sharing ground-breaking international artists with her network of collectors, gallerists, and art aficionados. Photography by Rodolfo Michel | Art Direction by Louis Liu Hair & Makeup by Tonya Riner | Interview by Marc Sifuentes

While living in Asia for eight years, Deborah Colton's first emanation was a virtual gallery, starting in 1998, whose main focus was to create an awareness and appreciation for the multimedia talents of artists from Thailand, Japan, China and throughout Asia. With a background in marketing and a passion for art along with the support and encouragement of her peers and critics, Colton soon set out to look for her own gallery space. In 2000, finding a dilapidated but promising warehouse near downtown Houston, Deborah was at the forefront of initiating the gentrification framework for other artists and galleries to build out this blank space to curate their artistic visions. A few years later in 2004 she would open the Deborah Colton Gallery in a new Houston location, here she would expand her roster of artist for her now faithful international clients. While continuously supporting many art non-profits over the years, Colton shares her mission through various endeavors that help make Houston a destination city for the arts, nationally and internationally. We were lucky enough to have Deborah sit down with us to discuss her life in art.

What spurred your fascination with art? Any piece you collected that began this journey? My fascination with art started as a young child with my mother painting on canvas in my playroom. My mother was an artist, and then later studied interior design at the New York School of Interior Design. She has always had a wonderful sense of style and a sophisticated eye in creating our home in Essex Fells, New Jersey, which was featured in many newspapers and magazines. Living near New York, we would drive into the city to visit museums all the way through my college years. I drew and painted also, but my father wanted me to go more into business. I went that route, but always kept art as a hobby. I started to collect fine art

in my mid-30's when my husband and I moved to Tokyo, Japan and I was living a charmed international ex-pat life. By the time we moved to Bangkok, Thailand four years later, I was supporting Asian artists and continued to acquire a fair amount of contemporary Asian art. Loving art so much and wanting to support artists and the community while trying to create cross cultural exchange are some of the reasons I have the gallery now.

Did you always know you wanted to curate and collect art? Was there another career path you had in mind before you became emerged in art? My undergraduate degree is a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration in Marketing with a minor in Psychology. After college I was in corporate sales, sales management and product launching in Houston and then in New York. My heart was always pulled towards the arts and I took night courses studying art whenever I could. When we moved overseas, it was easier for me to become more emerged in the arts again since I was not working in my first career anymore. While living in Bangkok, I became very involved supporting many of the national artists of Thailand appointed by His Majesty the King, many of whom were professors and deans at the major fine arts university there. There they gave me private lessons on art techniques and processes. I have always felt I have had a privileged art education, being mentored by excellent international curators in Asia who studied in Europe at the finest schools, then later having top art historians speak at our gallery and having learned from all outstanding artists we

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have exhibited over the years. It's been an amazing journey and I am very humbled and appreciative.

How has your view on art changed since moving back from Asia sixteen years ago? I have realized it is a full-time life commitment being involved in the arts. It was the Thai artists who inspired me to open a gallery when I moved back from Asia. They said historically in Europe, private galleries were created by art patrons who wanted to give the artists a place to exhibit and sell their art. These patrons’ friends and peers would acquire the art which would help the artists establish their full-time careers. The art patron-gallerist in Singapore, who did so much for the contemporary art scene in Singapore, including establishing their international art fair, felt I had the personal portfolio to be successful at this too. I had always been involved since college in contributing to my community, so making this contribution to the arts to help make Houston become more of an international art city seemed like something that would fully inspire me.

Why does the Deborah Colton Gallery focus on international artists rather than strictly American or even just Texan artists? Why do you find this focus important? Every gallerist has their own personal journey and this is reflected in the art and artists they choose to exhibit. I lived overseas for over eight years with my family. Our perspective on the world changed, making best friends with people from all over the world and living in different countries with different cultures. We all became "citizens of the world" rather than of one place, and relationships became the most important to us since the places we


IRIS WOMAN

Deborah Colton photographed in front of Untitled Diptych by Daniel Kayne fron the Dividing God Series, 2008 at Deborah Colton Gallery, Houston, TX.

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lived always changed. The first exhibitions I curated in the United States were from Asia. In October of 2000 it was an exhibition of over fifty works from Thailand with Consular Forum 2000 in conjunction with the Asia Society. Next it was China, next Japan, all in conjunction with the Consul Generals of these countries is Houston and with the Asia Society.

Who are your favorite artists to feature and how do you decide who to represent? All our artists are special in that they don't mass produce work just to make sales. They are true, pure artists and create from their souls and their intellect. Most are trying to create awareness about issues that affect us as a global human race in this 21st century or have concepts that help make people feel "whole" and more connected. I feel that if people take the time to look and understand these artists, the quality

of their lives will improve. They will become more connected with themselves, their environment, their quality of their relationships, and how we all co-exist with each other, sharing this planet together right now. Other artists like Jonas Mekas and our Houston based artist Suzanne Paul, help us understand where we come from as art communities, as a nation. Respecting the past and understanding it helps us be more present in today, and prepares us for the future. Almost all of the artists we present are part of our mission statement, which is to use the gallery as a forum to connect Texas with national and international artists to make positive change. Visual arts are part of the humanities that we can't lose as a modern technological, more commercially-driven society. Our mission is to preserve this and create more world wide understanding through the arts.

What is the most powerful memory that comes to your mind related to art? I remember I took a lot of time, actually over three years coming back from Asia, deciding what type of gallery I wanted to open and where it should be, based on our programming. As I had mentioned, I had done "Pop-ups" in various Asian countries before this, and also an exhibition that had only shown in New York which included a film at the Angelika and a "Pop-up" exhibition in conjunction with FotoFest 2002. This took off, and I wanted to exhibit really cutting edge Asian and international art in the future too. It was all going to be different from what the city had experienced before. Thus, I needed a unique gallery space. So I decided to open a gallery in the First Ward near the railroad tracks in a dilapidated warehouse. My most amazing art experience was the opening of Deborah Colton Gallery during FotoFest of 2004. We had over eight-hundred people come. Then the next show, one of the four artist's entire body of works went into the permanent collection of the Museum of Fine Arts Houston. The next show over 1,200 people came. That was when a building developer decided to restore one of the other old artist studio buildings. We supported this effort and helped him get artists to rent his studio spaces and then we worked towards making the whole area a protected First Ward Arts District. Now this First Ward Arts District is one of the largest artist studio areas in the United States and is called the Washington Arts District. It's good for the artist; it's a place for them to show their work and sell it and they really don't need a commercial gallery. It brings art to more people which is a positive thing.

How did the idea of placing the Yoko Ono IMAGINE PEACE billboard come to fruition and what was the reaction from visitors and residents of Houston? The planning of this show started shortly after September 11th, 2001, a day that changed the way we related and protected ourselves in the nation. Yet, many of us felt more war was not the answer. I started to organize the 2006 WORD exhibition shortly after we opened the Deborah Colton Gallery in 2004. We had a focus on creating more world wide understanding through the arts and wanted to have a major exhibition of the most historical conceptual and fluxus artists. I believed in extending our exhibitions outside our own four walls and felt very strongly that the largest Yoko Ono Deborah Colton photographed in her 2015 Maserati Gran Turismo convertible.

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D E B O R A H C O LTO N

IMAGINE PEACE billboard must be placed in Houston, going into downtown where thousands of people would see it each day. When the billboard went up, the city was mesmerized by it. All of the TV stations covered it, all the newspapers and magazine press. Additionally we had hundreds of emails and phone calls with people giving testimonials of their life experiences and how important this major, harmonious billboard touched their lives each day. The billboard took on a life of its own, since the billboard company also got hundreds of phone calls. People wanted to sponsor it to keep it as a permanent installation. The city of Houston reacted as much when it was taken down as when it went up, and the billboard also got national and international attention. For this reason I sponsored the billboard again at the same place for our 2011 "Positive Perceptions" exhibition which was the time of the 10th memorial of 9-11. The public was so pleased to have it in the city again and it showed unity in our nation to support those who lost their lives in New York. I was happy to sponsor it again.

Do you feel that being an independent gallerist gives you more freedom to take a risk on showing an artist that might not have the commercial success of a more mainstream artist or do you feel your approach is a good balance of art and commerce? Luckily I have clients and supporters all over the world. We have artists from every world region and I am established as an international dealer. Thus, I can take risks with exhibitions that make an important social statement for positive change. I don't judge my success by how much we sell locally from each exhibition as much as how much we contribute, and how much of an impact we make.

Why did you choose to create a social and cultural center like the Deborah Colton Gallery in Houston rather than somewhere like New York or Los Angeles? Houston is much more exciting to me. It is open and I love the way the people are. It's a young dynamic city that is open to new ideas and is a city of the future. The city is diverse and has great potential for growth. It's also very diverse and international, with over ninety-five Consulate offices and so many international leaders in all professions here. The city embraces new ideas and innovation, which is what Texas is made of. I have more freedom here to do really provocative and informative, dynamic, international programming that is fresh and inspiring,

Yoko Ono’s IMAGINE PEACE billboard by North Freeway (I-45 North), 500 feet South of I-10, Houston, TX (An extension of "Positive Perceptions" exhibition at Deborah Colton Gallery), displayed on September 5th through mid-October, 2011

like the city of Houston. There is no where else I would rather be. It's great here!

What type of experiences do you hope visitors take away from visiting your gallery? I hope that they will reach new levels of understanding of issues that affect us in a non-confrontational way through the beauty and essence of visual arts.

You are involved in so many great charities in Texas, is there one that is particularly close to your heart? They are all important to me. I am on several boards and advisory boards because I believe in the organizations. I must say that helping Jonas Mekas and his Anthology Films Archives in New York is very important to me because it is the largest archive of independent film in the world, and I respect Jonas and his deep convictions. In Texas, I support organizations that help the underprivileged children through the arts, like Community Artists' Collective and City Art Works. I've been helping try to get our art fairs to the highest level and getting them on the same weekend so that we can establish a Houston Art Week that will highlight all the arts of the city. I spend a lot of my focus on Texas artists that did not go as far as they deserved in their lifetimes, like Bert Long, Dorothy Hood, and Suzanne Paul, who documented so much of Houston arts history since the 70s. We are establishing a project now to reveal

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our city's foundations so that, as the mega international city that we are now, we have something documented and concrete to build on.

Where do you see the Deborah Colton Gallery in 10 years? What is your next step? I don't want to expand to other cities. Though we work with artists, curators, museums and collectors throughout the world. Houston is our home base and we only want one "white cube" exhibition space and gallery. I am open to the future.

What would you like your legacy to be? I just get up every morning and try to contribute every day. Besides the fact that my husband and family are always the most important to me, the rest of my legacy the public can decide. ‥

Deborah Colton Gallery is founded on being an innovative showcase for ongoing presentation and promotion of strong historical and visionary contemporary artists worldwide, whose diverse practices include painting, works on paper, sculpture, video, photography, performance, conceptual future media, and public space installations. The gallery aspires to provide a forum through connecting Texas, national and international artists to make a positive change.


IRIS COVET BOOK

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EMERGING

RJ A study in dualism: dynamic New York City artist, best known for his engaging and graphic murals in some of Manhattan’s trendiest nightclubs and hotels, balances his cool, calculated branding with a sensitive and intentional creative process. Photography and Interview by Dustin Mansyur Styling by Marc Sifuentes Creative Direction by Louis Liu Makeup by Lydia Brock

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Top Left, Work In Progress: Constellation Mural, Hand Drawn Silver Ink On White Wall, At Collective Design Fair, 2016 Top Right, TERRAIN, 2016 Black pigment dye and acylic on canvas, 60 x 48 inches. Available on rhcontemporaryart.com Bottom Left, GRADIENT, 2016 Black pigment dye and acrylic on canvas 72 x 48 inches. Available on rhcontemporaryart.com Bottom Right, Brain Coral Mural, Black Ink On Stairwell for 199 Bowery Street, NYC, 2014 Paintings photographed by Rosalind Akin. Images courtsey of RH Contemporary Art.

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RJ RAIZK

R

J Raizk presents himself as an embodiment of his brand: an austere and seemingly-aloof specimen of cool, tinged with angst–an inevitable by-product of any creative trying to "make it" in New York. But there is something more seductive and sincere about the artist than his all-black-wearing persona. The 29-year-old who transplanted from Ohio to attend School of Visual Arts just over a decade ago, has been incubating his creative sensibilities with a New York state-of-mind. “I’m just planting all the seeds, so I can get the fuck out of here.” His breed is the kind of artist that is navigating a postdigital and post-recession career path while reenvisioning ways to create a sustainable life and career as an artist. Already amassing a hefty resume of commercial projects and commissions with MTV, Restoration Hardware, and several of New York’s finest hospitality spaces, including trendy Meatpacking nightclub, Up&Down, The Tribeca Grand Hotel, and several private residences commissioned by interior design clients; RJ’s work is dynamic and impactful, making it easy for his audience to connect with his work. Much of his work could be interpreted as studies in dualism, drawing inspiration from some of the most diverse geometric structures and organisms found within the natural world as seen in the artist’s intricate and polarized black-and-white pattern work. Raizk’s work fluidly moves between analog and digital processes, at times incorporating both into the same piece. While modernizing representational subject matter through simplified form and playful design, Raizk’s work is balanced by a highlycontrolled process in which he attempts to utilize his physical body for a mechanical “printer-like application”, creating nearlyperfect pattern-repeating murals that are only seemingly-organic. A glance through the artist’s portfolio, which he endearingly refers to as his “pattern book”, reveals that RJ’s work is delicate and energetic at the same time. Patterns that look like constellations, electrons, cell mitosis, photosynthesis or seed-germination all make an appearance in optic black and white ink on paper, all created entirely by hand. It is easy to be awed by the kind of discipline such detail requires, “I’ve done this one for the entire entrance of Up&Down,” he exclaims proudly, pointing to a pattern that could easily be the microbial makeup of a plant under a microscope. “I did this one for my friend’s place and I’ve done it for restaurants, to prints on canvases for people, to just prints on paper. I’ve done it just about everywhere. I’m leaving it open to every type of medium. It doesn’t have to be just drawn or painted.”

Many of the patterns within his body of work have been scanned to create digital file assets that can be further manipulated and used as source material for RJ’s intricate digital collage work. “A lot of people don’t understand that digital work takes about as much effort and time as analog. They don’t think digital is as authentic as you doing it by hand. But in actuality, the amount of time and effort it takes to make a digital piece is the same because you’re collaging this giant thing and it’s your work. So, just because there’s a computer between you doesn’t mean that it’s less effort.” For last year’s Miley Cyrus-hosted MTV Video Music Award, the artist was commissioned to create advertising collateral featuring the popstar, and suggested that the computer is simply another medium. “I love that I can combine my digital with my hand-drawn and I think that’s one of the best stuff I’ve done.” Raizk’s first solo show, hosted by friend and fashion powerhouse, Nicola Formichetti, the artist made a return to a more traditional process of pigment dye and acrylic paintings on canvas, showcasing his skill-set as an abstract painter. Paintings carried over from the solo exhibition were quickly snatched up by Restoration Hardware’s newest division, RH Contemporary Artists, which markets a curated selection of artists’ work to it’s longestablished cult-following consumer base in the world of home decor. The potential of dipping his toe in the world of interior design and luxury furnishings and fabrics isn’t a bad idea. It’s easy to envision Raizk’s titillating patterns as fabrics, wallpaper, or carpeting that could wrap any textiled surface. Positioning oneself for potential licensing deals is good business for any artist. Still, for many millennial creatives living in New York, post-graduation career aspirations can seem daunting, especially when trying to understand how to generate the cash flow to make a dream happen. “If you’re looking into studio spaces, they’ll be $2000 a month that’s a 300 square foot box with no window. If you want a window, then it’s over $3000,” he said, recalling the reality of astronomical rent that has posed a challenge for so many of New York’s artists. “But yet, everyone needs artists, but no one’s willing to cater to them.” Merging his talent with a business-savvy drive, RJ’s career path hasn’t come without its criticism. “They are like, ‘Why don’t you just get a job on the side? Why don’t you do this?’ And I’m like, ‘You guys don’t understand. If I had a job, I wouldn’t devote any time to this. I’d be coming home, going to sleep, waking up, going to the job.’ I need freedom to be able to make stuff, because then, the payoff is actually worth it, now. It’s frustrating, because no one

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really understands and they’re just like, ‘You just don’t want to work. You’re just lazy.’ And I know that’s not true, because how did all this stuff happen?” Fortunately, Raizk has effectively been able to maneuver said challenges, learning to employ the same cerebral dance between left and right brain (as seen in his pattern work) and flow effortlessly between them at will. This duality carries over into the profound underlying themes within RJ’s work. This is apparent in his crayon drawings of aliens that have become popular cult t-shirts. The series features aliens trying to understand a variety of human emotions, masquerading as tongue-in-cheek t-shirt designs that could easily be sold for the masses. “I hope you know I’m not that serious,” he jokes while showing me a crayon drawing of two aliens holding hands with a sphere of rainbows drawn around their hands with the slogan “Searching for a connection”. One could understand them as a deeper commentary on the theory that life is a computer simulation being understood by a post-human civilization, an idea effectively juxtaposed by its delivery in the form of an infantile crayon drawing, reminiscent of childhood. “Are we nothing but aliens experiencing human emotions for the first time?” I propose. He agrees, “I think so.” Here, Iris Covet Book sits down with the New York City-based artist at our photoshoot in Soho, NY.

When did you know you wanted to become an artist? It’s funny, when I was a child I was constantly drawing all over the walls of my parents’ house. At the time, my mom freaked out because I had just destroyed her newly painted shutters. She actually ended up saving the shutter with my markings on it. In class, I was one of those kids that never paid attention to the teacher and would just draw and scribble on the side of my notes and on the back of tests, wherever I could find an empty space on paper. I guess I could say I wanted to be an artist my entire life.

Has this been a career path that you always saw for yourself ? Ever since I was about 13, I knew that a normal life was not for me and I could not handle a 9-5 office job, it would give me anxiety and still does to this day thinking about it. I had this deep instinctual feeling to follow my dreams and what truly made


IRIS COVET BOOK

me happy, and that’s how I decided that unless I pursued art I would not be happy. I would rather die than not do what I like to do for the world around me.

What influences have helped shape your creative process? I was one of those kids who loved electronics and video games, the universe and the cosmos and the stylized drawing of anime and Japanese art. A nerd at heart. The way they could create such movement and drama with such simple line work was what really intrigued me. I’m also inspired by how organic structures of plants and the cosmos create such beautiful patterns.

Was there ever a time you were afraid or uncertain to express or put yourself out there creatively because of what others might think? I want people to appreciate it as much as you do. When I was younger it was more difficult but now it has gotten a lot easier, the feedback has been nothing but positive so it keeps me going.

Is your work an emotional process or more of a technical process? When I paint it is more emotional, and free flowing due to the movement of it. When I draw its more technical, I go into an almost robotic mode when I draw, it’s very repetitive. When I combine the two I feel the most complete.

When commissioned for interior design projects, how do spaces and architecture inspire the work that you create within them? I have a portfolio of all my patterns that I have drawn over the years, and continue to make new ones for myself.

Work In Progress: Constellation Mural, Hand Drawn Silver Ink On Black Wall, At A Private Residence,2016.

So that you automatically feel energized being in it? I’m basically taking a really stark, boring space, adding something crazy to it that is mine. So, it’s basically like me going out and leaving a giant autograph in a space and people really love it.

Do you feel like an incredible amount of energy has surged through you physically when you have completed a mural? After I’ve finished, then I’m basically brain dead. I’ve been focused during the whole process and then once I’ve finished, I literally cannot do anything else. I feel like I’ve given all of myself to this work.

Do you consider yourself an entrepreneur in addition to being an artist and is there a balance between the two roles?

When I am commissioned for an interior design project I select the pattern that works the best with the space. With paintings, it’s the same process, I’ll show examples and work with the style of painting they want for their home.

They do go hand in hand, you have to be smart about your work and how it represents your brand, your brand being yourself. Today, people want to know everything about you and what you represent.

What is something you hope your audience experiences when they enter a space that you have done?

How have you overcome the challenge of making art a viable business and what advice would you give young creatives hoping to make a career as an artist?

Ultimately, I just want people to feel good about what they see and give them a feeling of awe. That’s why I like doing hospitality spaces so much, because if people are enjoying themselves in the space, I feel like their reactions will be more positive.

I have overcome the challenge by being very patient. You have to be patient. Sometimes the world isn’t as forward thinking as you are but overtime the world will catch up to your speed. My advice to young creatives is, keep practicing your

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craft and keep doing what you love to do. If your heart and soul is present in your work, you will always find success. Especially in this day and age with social media and all the other platforms that we have to show our work to the world. Keep putting your work out there, and positive things will come to you.

What makes you feel nostalgic? I was a small town boy, in Wilmington, Ohio growing up. When I think about the fun I had running through the streets, bike riding through the neighborhoods, walking to the one gas station to buy candy, climbing trees, I feel nostalgic.

What makes you feel cerebral? I love walking around the city and listening to music, I could do it all day when I’m not working. The music I listen to ranges from ambient, vapor wave, electronic, techno, hip-hop and classical. Music in general at all times makes me feel very cerebral.

Do you have anyone that you look up to professionally? Yayoi Kusama and Keith Haring, I believe we are cut from the same cloth.

How has art helped you discover yourself or the world around you? What personality traits has it helped you develop? It’s the core of my being and is the basis for everything I am. ‡ For more information, visit rjraizk.com or email celeste@rjraizk.com


RJ RAIZK

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This Page: John & Yoko on a cruise boat up the Hudson river, July 7, 1971 17 x 22 inches, Archival Photographic Print. Edition of 3 + 2 AP, 2013 Opposite Page: Andy Warhol, 1971 17 x 22 inches, Archival Photographic Print. Edition of 3 + 2 AP, 2013

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images courtesy of Deborah Colton Gallery ©JONAS MEKAS

ICON

JONAS MEKAS R

ecognized as one of the leading figures of American avant-garde filmmaking, Jonas Mekas is a pioneer in the craft and has become an icon in the world of fine art. Through his accomplished career as a filmmaker, photographer, poet and organizer, Mekas firmly established filmmaking as a widely accepted means of artistic expression. Through his lens, Mekas has captured some of the most beautiful, provocative, and interesting moments of celebrities, nature, and Mekas’ distinct view of life. Some of his most famous subjects include noted filmmakers, Jacqueline Kennedy, and artists like Salvador Dali, Andy Warhol, Yoko Ono, John Lennon, and Elvis Presley. Another large portion of Mekas’

work is concerned with the more intrinsically personal moments of nature: family, being human, and appreciating life beyond the conventional. Known also as a curator and an icon of contemporary American culture, Mekas documented the works of many other famous artists, notably listed are the works we have published here of John Lennon with Yoko Ono on a cruise boat and Andy Warhol posing with an academy award. Jonas Mekas’ work has been exhibited at the finest museums worldwide, and is this issue’s Icon in recognition of his lifetime of work innovating the world of film and photography. – Benjamin Price

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THE BLONDS


F E AT U R E

Every Fashion Week they produce a parade of bombshells with nipped waists, sky-high heels, and fabulous blonde wigs piled into the heavens. NYC based design duo, Phillipe and David Blond, has entranced Iris and their clientele with their fabulous personality as well as a hefty dose of crystals and metallic. Photography by Johnny Vicari Styling by Marc Sifuentes Art Direction by Louis Liu

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T

he Blonds are injecting fun, glitter, rhinestones, and life back into the fashion industry. With an undying love of all things glamorous and fabulous: the clientele of The Blonds is pretty easy to pinpoint. Born from New York nightlife culture, the fashion label is nothing short of reverential towards The Blondes before them such as Marilyn, Brigitte Bardot, and Jayne Mansfield to name a few, as well as the over-the-top camp produced by drag queens and nightlife performers. With a roster of A-list celebrity clients from Madonna to Beyonce to Miley Cyrus, their impact on fashion and performance is clearly evident. Inspired by the same musicians they dress, the duo also finds creative ideas in art, film, textiles, and pretty much all that glitters. We are always on the lookout for talent and vision which goes beyond the traditional scope, and Phillipe and David of The Blonds surely do take us to another planet where everyone is blonde, glamorous, and has a twenty-two inch waist.

strive to push the boundaries to make people look and feel amazing. Phillipe: People have a tendency to forget that the core of what we do is custom made for performance. These are not something we expect someone to wear on a daily basis, even though I might! These pieces are special and they tell a story. David: So much work, thought, time and energy goes into everything we do. From the research and experimentation through the toiles and final looks. It's a process we take very seriously and enjoy each aspect of, but we always maintain that sense of humour about the collections. It's all meant to be very tongue in cheek. Phillipe: The point is that your looks change, so just have fun with them!

The Blonds are known as an over-the-top, glamorous aesthetic –what is it about the drama and performance that inspires you both? David: We find it exciting because those dramatic moments in film, art, a concert, or life are always the most memorable and entertaining. We love being a part of those moments when the volume is turned up. Phillipe: Which is the main reason music inspires us the most and we love what we do. It's the ultimate outlet when we have the opportunity to work on a concert or tour.

When was the formative moment when you both decided to design a clothing line? Phillipe: It was something we always wanted to do. Even as children growing <continues on page 55>

How did you two meet? David: One amazing night out in NYC. Phillipe: I snuck out of a school dance with my best friend Olys and went to the Roxy instead. David and I spotted each other from across the room. The connection was instant, like we'd known each other forever. David: It was like a movie, the last days of the mega clubs in New York. Magic!

How did you begin as creative partners? Phillipe: After meeting, we started creating our own looks when we would go out. David: The Blonds came later, but we definitely planted those seeds with that time spent experimenting on ourselves and friends.

How would you describe your brand’s aesthetic? Phillipe: It's all about glamour and fantasy! We want our clients to escape from the everyday and have fun with their style. You don’t have to be blonde to be Blond! It has nothing to do with your origins or look. It is meant to be a state of mind, and all about expressing yourself and injecting that glamour and fantasy into your life! David: The Blonds are about a lifestyle, an attitude, a strong look. The corset is the centerpiece of every collection. It is the framework in which we start each season and will always play a huge role in what we create. Quite simply, it is the best way to shape the body and maintain that perfect hourglass silhouette. It is a powerful thing when someone sees themselves in a different light; we always

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THE BLONDS

Previous Spread and Opposite Page: On Phillipe, Gown by The Blonds, Bracelet by Michael Spirito, Shoes by Christian Louboutin. On David, Tank Top by Ann Demeulemeester, Jeans by Trash & Vaudeville, Bracelet by Stella Trujillo, Shoes by Christian Louboutin. This Page: Dress by The Blonds.

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THE BLONDS

Dress by The Blonds, Bracelet by Michael Spirito, Shoes by Christian Louboutin.

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Leather Jacket by Just Cavalli, Tank Top by Ann Demeulemeester, Jeans by Diesel 54


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MADE Fashion Week has given us these amazing opportunities and the freedom to express ourselves however we choose without the permission of any establishment. up we'd take whatever was around us and make it wearable and fabulous. My father taught me how to sew at a young age and has been my biggest supporter since starting The Blonds. David: Our parents were key supports and encouraged us to do and be what made us happy. Even though it was in the air around us, there was a turning point in our career and the catalyst was Patricia Field. It was her initial vote of confidence that gave us the opportunity which kick started it all. Pat has played a huge roll in our development as a brand and supported us throughout this incredible adventure.

What was your first big break as designers? Phillipe: Beyonce wore the first corset we ever made in her "Upgrade U" video. Later we went onto do work on various performances with her incredible stylist, Ty Hunter. David: Each time we get to work with a client is a big break because the competition in the industry is getting vicious! When we started no one was doing anything like this and a lot of people said "no", "you're crazy", "who would wear that?!" etc. Now there are so many new and established designers that cater to this area of the industry. Also, there have been so many "breaks", but make no mistake they don't just happen, you have to work for them and make it happen. You have to focus on what it is you want, understand it, visualize it, then realize it.

Phillipe: YAS! Just go for it!

How did you come up with the name “The Blonds”? Phillipe: When beginning to start the line, we were going through a "Blond Moment" (and still are), we were bleaching our hair, always shared similar obsessions, and emulated the legendary blondes of the Hollywood Golden Age, along with characters like Barbie, or Daryl Hannah in Splash. The word Blond with no "e" is the masculine version, so it's a sort of play on the word, as most people relate that word to women. David: Yes anything and everything to do with this idea, this feeling of being Blond. While discussing what to call the line we were stopped in our tracks by a gallery window. On display were giant Warhol paintings of Barbie and it clicked: THE BLONDS!

The fashion world is known to be tough, stressful, and blindingly fast-paced. How exactly did you break into the industry? David: As we said there were many breaks, but it can be tough and the fashion world is running at its own pace. However, we work on the edge of this business where the reality and fantasy meet. It's hard to define what we do in words, but at the end of the day we did things our own way and created a niche for ourselves. Thankfully we've been able to maintain the purity of the brand's vision. Phillipe: The show aspect of what we do has really become like performance art. MADE Fashion Week has given us these amazing opportunities and the freedom to express ourselves however we choose without the permission of any establishment. What Jenné Lombardo, Mazdack Rassi and Keith Baptista have created with the MADE program is something so profound. David: We are so grateful for everything this has contributed to The Blonds success. This program defies what previously existed, it's a revolution of creativity, a family of tribes, a place for the rebels to run wild!

What icons do you draw inspiration from? Who is the muse behind the fun, exaggerated glamour? Phillipe: Oh my god, seriously!? It's so hard to list them all! From Marlene Dietrich and Josephine Baker to Cher, Grace Jones and Marilyn Monroe of course. Glamorously funny women like Carol Burnett and Lucille Ball. Any

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personality that has no limits where glamour is concerned! David: Our clients are the muses, they are an endless source of inspiration like mythological goddesses or super heroes.

Your designs employ a lot of applique, embroidery, and other very interesting and elaborate design elements. What draws you to this aesthetic? Phillipe: We've always been attracted to anything that reflects or refracts light, like a prism. Crystal is our favorite material to work with, because the effect is so exciting. We're obsessed! Anything to exaggerate the body, the hourglass curve, and waist! David: We currently work with Preciosa Crystal to create new ways of utilizing the material. Of course we've even implemented their range of chandelier components into some of the pieces to create depth and scale for a three dimensional quality. Most of what we create is done in an organic way, but there is an architectural element there as well.

What was your most memorable/favorite runway show you have done so far? Phillipe: Mine of course! They have all been fun in their own ways, but our first runway show really meant the most. David: That excitement of having that opportunity to show what you worked so hard on is thrilling. From the MAC make-up looks to the Christian Louboutins, it's a total look. Every season is different and getting to do what we love is truly amazing!

If you could choose to work with any woman, dead or alive, who would it be? Phillipe: Marilyn Monroe, Aaliyah, Jessica Rabbit, Amy Winehouse, or Lana Del Rey. David: Josephine Baker, Rita Hayworth or Carmen Miranda. It would be great to work with Tina Turner, Cher or Janet Jackson one day. Diana Ross HELLO! We also love Chloe & Halle and Grimes.

What books, movies, artists, or TV shows do you find yourselves referencing the most? Phillipe: We love artists like Dali, Kahlo, Koons and Warhol. We're also into different types of Animation. Illustrators and Make up Artists like Kabuki. I grew up on shows like Jem and the Holograms, and She-rah, where everything sparkled and anything was possible! But music is our main inspiration and we're total film buffs as well.


IRIS COVET BOOK

David: Almodovar, Tarantino, Wilder, Luhrmann, Marshall, Waters to name a few. We also love fantasy, science fiction, horror and gore films, Hitchcock, Kubrick, Argento, Ridley Scott... Growing up it was all about Bob Mackie's designs from the Cher show to Wonder Woman. Currently we're watching, and absolutely LOVE The Get Down on Netflix.

What is the most challenging part of working in a partnership? David: Phillipe and I share a similar outlook and aesthetic when it comes to design. The few differences we have are actually an asset, and the outcomes always turn out even better than the original concepts. Phillipe: We love working as a team creatively, because we challenge each other to make it better or more, more more. It's everything! Plus two Blonds are always better than one!

You’ve referenced in previous interviews that Madonna is one of your favorite blondes, what is it about her that you love so much? What was it like when Madonna chose your designs for her “Living for Love” video? Phillipe: We totally lost it! Madonna is everything! She's fearless! For this project we worked closely with B. Akerlund, her Costume Designer and Stylist, to create a piece within the theme of the video. The piece was also inspired by a look from our Spring/Summer 2015 collection. David: We admire her incredible talent and drive, the work she is doing outside the music is also very inspiring. On top of that she's a smart, strong, independent rebel that doesn't take shit from anyone.

Besides the United States, what are some other markets that are big for you? Phillipe: We have clients all over the world: Qatar, Japan, Australia, China, Taiwan, Mexico, Korea, England...just to name a few. David: It's a common misconception that the US market is the only market. It’s simply not true. Every country has rock stars! Once we've tapped into that, it inspires our private clients in that region. It's also interesting to see the differences in each culture and what that fan base is attracted to.

If you knew then what you know now, what would you do differently? David: We would most likely take a similar, if not the same path in life. I really can't see us doing anything else.

Phillipe: Absolutely no regrets!

The theme of a strong, femme fatale is heavy in the brand, where does this come from? Phillipe: Femme fatales are usually the most complex and interesting characters in a book, film or real life; I even consider myself one. I'm completely obsessed with Catwoman and Jessica Rabbit, good girls gone bad. David: We use narratives, real or imagined to come up with the themes or looks for a show. It makes producing these events more interesting when there is a story to tell. We enjoy mixing elements to create a paradox much like the the conflicted personality of the femme fatale. That character is the core of it all.

What is your personal definition of style? Phillipe: Style is something that does not have a definition. It's really up to the individual what they want to convey or feel at that moment. David: Style is fluid like gender or any other outward expression. Clothes are not just meant to be practical, and we don't think of our work in those terms. We prefer to live in the moment.

Where are your favorite spots for food, nightlife, and culture in New York City? Phillipe: We frequent Indochine on a regular basis, The Lobster Place in Chelsea Market is amazing. The MET is great for research and inspiration. Even though I grew up in this city, I discover something new everyday. David: Central Park is so gorgeous, we bike there a lot and take Fifi & Bijoux there for picnics. Sometimes we attend film festivals and concerts in Lincoln Center. It's always great to go dancing when we can. Susanne Bartsch and LadyFag throw the most fabulous parties!

world, are there any charities that you are involved in? Phillipe: We've been involved with the MAC AIDS Fund and Viva Glam over many years as well as City of Hope, Life Ball, DIFFA, and amFAR. David: HIV/AIDS is still a huge issue, and we do everything we can to support this cause, the ongoing research, and care of those in need is still so necessary. It's an important aspect of what we do, and a responsibility that everyone should take very seriously. Anyone that's in a position to give back needs to do so in order to make a change.

What is the next step for the brand? Any new partnerships or collaborations you can tell us about? Phillipe: We just relaunched our website, theblonds.nyc, and we're so excited about this new collection. There are red carpet options, and a lot of what you will see is a departure from the performance pieces, even though that will always be included. We recently collaborated with Moda Operandi on a curated trunk show, something we plan to do more of in the future. David: This season, we focused on wearability more than ever before. The Blonds e-commerce will be up soon, making everything more accessible to our current clients and hopefully new ones! We're looking forward to expanding the brand in diverse ways, and it's always great to partner with brands that are not usually connected to garment design. We're partnering with Lexus this fashion week on cars wrapped in The Blonds signature prints. Phillipe: There are a lot of new things coming up so stay tuned! ‡

New York City is so different from the rest of America in many ways, what is it about this city and its culture that inspires you? How are you affected by your experiences in the city? Phillipe: Everything about this city is exciting because it is ever-changing. New York City is engrained in our Brand's DNA and the cultural impact only enhances that. David: No day in New York is ever the same; it's like sensory overload.

At Iris Covet Book we like to cast a spotlight on the good that people are doing in the

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Opposite Page: Necklace and High Waisted Shorts by The Blonds, Bracelet by Michael Spirito, Boots by by Christian Louboutin. Hair and Makeup by Daniel Avilan @ Wilhelmina, Manicure by Narina Chan @ Wilhelmina, Photo Assistant Donna Viering, BTS Video by Kao Cheng Kai, Production by XTheStudio. Special Thanks to MAO PR . For more information on The Blonds visit THEBLONDS.NYC or @theblondsny on instagram


THE BLONDS

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Dress by Valentino, available at Neiman Marcus. Earrings and Ring by Bulgari, Shoes by Alexander McQueen.

Photography by Greg Swales Styling by Marc Sifuentes Art Direction by Louis Liu Feature by Ralph J. Benko

Joanne Herring is world famous for the Cinderella life she has lived. Revealed here for the first time her true Secret Identity: The Fairy Godmother.


F E AT U R E

JOANNE HERRING


IRIS COVET BOOK

Photographed in front of Untitled, 2012 by Anish Kapoor in the library of the Brookshire residence in Houston, TX. Sunglasses by Versace, Leopard-Print Belted Long Fur Coat by Tom Ford, available at Neiman Marcus. 60


JOANNE HERRING

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oanne Herring is an internationally famous, glamorous, figure. She rivals Queens Cleopatra and Boadicia for beauty and historic stature. She was called by American Secretary of State James Baker “a flash of light in a dark world.” She has been nominated to receive the Congressional Gold Medal, first awarded to General George Washington. Joanne Herring has earned the right, first applied to George Washington, to be called “first in war, first in peace, and first in the hearts of her countrymen.” Gone With The Wind, War and Peace, The Aeneid, the Iliad and the Odyssey. Epics, whether literary or historical, have two key elements: love and war. The 20thCentury was an epic era, fretted through with both. A thousand years hence almost all of us will have been forgotten. There is one woman living in our midst who proved so virtuous both in love and war as to make herself a candidate to enter history and lore and legend: Joanne Herring. Testimonials to her glow. President George W. Bush said “Joanne Herring is an extraordinary woman who was and still is a real catalyst for peace in our world.” Pakistan’s President Pervez Musharraf said “Her unique contribution to the Afghan freedom struggle in the 1980s turned the tide of the conflict.” Former secretary of state James Baker says “She walks where others fear to tread and never quits. She is a flash of light in a dark world.” She was nominated for the Congressional Gold Medal, one of America’s two highest civilian honors, last year for her valorous role in winning the Cold War.

People’s eyes got big. Suddenly eyes that were glazed with boredom opened wide with understanding and interest. It finally dawned on them that America and the free world, not just foreign countries, were being threatened. December 25, 1991 implosion of [the USSR.] a totalitarian, bellicose, imperialistic regime with 45,000 nuclear warheads, captor of dozens of nations, killer of tens of millions, sociopathic in its brutality against the innocent in its quest for world domination. …

The woman critical to winning the Cold War reveals to us how to make war forever a thing of the past. There is a guiding premise with which Joanne has worked miracles for people: believe in people and equip them with the skills and tools to meet their own needs. In the Cold War Joanne earned her place alongside – perhaps at the fore of – two other legendary regal women warriors, Queen Cleopatra, of Egypt, and Queen Boadicia, of England. Both led resistance against an empire. Both iconic queens forfeited their lives in defending their sovereignty against the Romans. Joanne, uniquely, defeated her imperial adversary, the Soviet Union, and lived to tell the tale. As I wrote five years ago in my Forbes. com review of her memoir, Diamonds and Diplomacy, a column headlined The Fall of the U.S.S.R. Twenty Years Ago: Beauty Killed The Beast: There is much to celebrate about the

Today, then, I sing of arms and the woman…. Joanne Herring’s story has been written many times. It is almost always told casting her as Cinderella. As stated at joanneherring.com: Born in a man’s world at a time when women had limited choices, Joanne King Herring blazed a trail with allies as unlikely as Charlie Wilson, Pierre Cardin and President Ronald Reagan, and in so doing forged new paths for women in Pakistan, Afghanistan and America. Joanne hosted the Joanne King Show on television for 15 years, was made roaming Ambassador of Pakistan and received the Quaid-e-Azam award, the highest honor given by the nation of Pakistan. She was made Dame by the Order of St. Francis and has been knighted by the King of Belgium. Joanne has appeared as a guest on Fox News Channel programs “Fox & Friends”, “On The Record with Greta Van Susteren”, “Hannity”, “Lou Dobbs Tonight,” and “Huckabee”. … Her book, Diplomacy and Diamonds was also featured in

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the Wall Street Journal, the New York Observer, the New York Social Diary and PW Weekly. Yes, her life is a Cinderella story. But there’s more to the fairy tale. Here revealed for the first time, Joanne Herring’s true secret identity: the Fairy Godmother. She works magic by inspiring and equipping people to solve their own problems rather than by working from the top down. She has done this so many times and continues to this day. Joanne recalled for Iris Covet Book how she assembled the international network crucial to funding the Afghan freedom fighters to beat the Soviets. In her own words: When Saudi Prince Bandar came to Washington as US ambassador I offered to give him a welcoming party. It was enormous – 112 seated at one table – including every important person on President’s Reagan’s staff. The Joint Chiefs of Staff were there. So was the entire Reagan cabinet along with ambassadors and Senators and Congresspeople from both sides of the aisle. Secretary of Defense Weinberger cancelled a speech, delegating it to his Secretary of the Navy (later Senator and husband of Elizabeth Taylor) John Warner in order to attend. Henry Kissinger and Barbara Walters flew in from New York City. The party was a huge success. Things got done, Washington style. A great photojournalist – and my most trusted counselor – Robin King and I went into Afghanistan. His film was instrumental in changing the course of history; he deserves far more credit than he has yet received. The Afghans were starving. The Soviet gunship helicopters were killing everything that moved, including people and the livestock they used for food, even dropping butterfly bombs attached to toys to attract children to maim themselves and die a horrible, lingering, death to traumatize and subjugate the villagers. The Afghans we visited killed the one goat they owned to feed our party. As famished as they were, they encircled us, so happy to be our hosts. The people’s faces were glowing with pride to host us. They said ‘You are the only people in the world who have cared about us.’ It is the Muslim way to welcome strangers. They were on fire with the desire to push back the Soviets and regain their liberty. They are an amazing people. They really are an inspiration. I understand how to relate to the poor as well as I do to presidents and royalty. When I returned from Afghanistan I studied <continues on page 64>


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Photographed in front of Abstraction, 1946, edition of 3, by Georgia O'Keeffe (1887-1986) in the gardens of the Brookshire residence in Houston, TX. Red Jacket and Optical Dress both by Issey Miyake, available at Saks Fifth Avenue. Necklace and Earrings from Tenenbaum Jewelers selected by John A. Evatz.

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JOANNE HERRING

Photographed in front of Non-Object (Spire), 2008, edition 3/3, by Anish Kapoor in the gardens the Brookshire residence in Houston, TX. Cape-Effect Embellished Silk-Satin White Gown by Oscar De La Renta, available at Neiman Marcus. Bracelet and Earrings from Tenenbaum Jewelers selected by John A. Evatz.

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the map. What did the Soviets want with these countries? I was the first person of influence to really make the point that it was the Strait of Hormuz, where 80% of the world’s oil passed daily, not Pakistan or Afghanistan, that the Soviets were after. People’s eyes got big. Suddenly eyes that were glazed with boredom opened wide with understanding and interest. It finally dawned on them that America and the free world, not just foreign countries, were being threatened. The rest is history. But history with a cruel twist. As summarized by the New York Times in Charlie Wilson’s Zen lesson: “Today there can be little doubt that Washington's brusque loss of interest in the fate of Afghanistan after the Soviets' withdrawal was a calamitous error.” This default by the United States government was not Joanne Herring’s fault. She pushed hard for continued humanitarian aid, post-war, to Afghanistan. Joanne states: The Afghans fought terrorists for us three times: against the Russian invaders, after 9/11 when Afghanistan became the training site for terrorists, and today. America basically abandoned them all three times. We pleaded with Washington to help them rebuild. Our pleas fell on deaf ears. JOANNE HERRING’S NEW WAY TO FIGHT WARS AND ACHIEVE PEACE Unable to produce meaningful aid or even interest on the part of the United States government Joanne set out to do it herself. She formed Marshall Plan Charities which simultaneously provided the five things that a village needed to thrive: food, water, education, healthcare and job training. It worked. The model village thrived even in adversity. Transforming this village was not merely a humanitarian act. It was a marker for potential geopolitical triumph, showing that believing in and equipping people to fight their battles provides better outcomes with genuine liberty and justice for all. In 2015, after five years of not being able to contact the village due to the ongoing strife in Afghanistan, she received a communication from a village Elder showing that they had survived and flourished in the middle of a war, surrounded by terrorists but capable of taking care of themselves, thriving and so grateful: [My] people are forever grateful to Ms. Joanne Herring for her care and support to our community, and our children and grandchildren will remember this for

valuable and interesting. That’s what I want to do for the kids now.

generations to come. … God be with you, and may God Bless America. Joanne: The Afghans, with our military help, fought the greatest war machine in history, the Soviet Union and won! Not one American soldier died! The cost of equipping a village to support 20,000 Afghans represented HALF THE COST of keeping one American soldier in the field for one year! $1,000,000 for 1 Soldier, $450,000 for 20,000 Villagers. … A village Elder told me: ‘We know that the billions in foreign aid that were sent here went down a black hole. As far as we know, we are the only village that was significantly helped.’ My plan gave them not one penny of money but all the tools, all at once: food, seeds, fertilizer and instructions, water, education, healthcare and job training, costing half of what it costs to keep one American soldier in the field for one year. They flourished. Help from the bottom up. We did it. It works. AMERICA’S PROBLEMS – AMERICA’S FUTURE The same principle of believing in people and helping them help themselves works everywhere. It is designed, above all, to inspire and equip the poverty-stricken with the tools to achieve success. As Joanne puts it: My grandmother and I started the Women’s Home in Houston to provide services to battered women. Lord, what challenges they had to overcome, but today it is 60 years old and we are told it is one of the most successful homes for battered women in the United States. We used the same theory as we did in Afghanistan and my television show. Give them tools, instructions, and materials to help them help themselves. They will. I have spent the past several years closely studying television programming with a close eye on its impact on American society, especially with its impact on the kids in our inner cities. So many children are at risk through no fault of their own. I wish to do a TV series on people who made it against the odds and how they did it. I used the same formula (helping people help themselves) for my TV show first when I was a TV host in Houston. I put on everything I could to encourage people and equip them to succeed. Every day people were learning something

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Rather than plunging our airwaves and cable networks into morbidity let’s give viewers interesting and useful stories about people who made it against the odds, giving hope: ‘if they can make it, I can make it.’ We will give them actual tools to do it. I am working to produce a pilot for a docudrama. Just one successful example will be both transformational and profitable. The secret? Spoiler alert: the good guys, not the black hats, win! There is an abundance of priceless and fascinating stories that are not making it onto TV. When the heroes and heroines of these stories tell them, people will listen spellbound…. My friend, the championship boxer George Foreman – who taught himself to read at age 16! – has written a spectacular book – Knockout Entrepreneur – that lays out the “how to,” one two three, to make it with however little you start with. The key lies in our knowing, and communicating, that any good person can succeed if they have the tools and is provided those tools. If we believe in people right here, or anywhere, and give them the skills and tools they need, the vast majority will succeed. I know this as a person, as a woman, and as a mom and grandmother. My chief blessings and joy include my two sons and three grandchildren who are my inspiration, including Beau and Stanisse King, Beau II, Becket and Robert among my Inspiration and Joy. Believing in people and giving them the simple tools to succeed through their own hard work is the secret ingredient of my recipes for world peace and for prosperity. There. You now are in on my secret to working miracles: help people help themselves. Joanne pivots from winning an epic war to making fairy tales come true, real life fairy tales in which she provides the tools to find our own way to Happily Ever After. Meet Joanne Herring, a real deal Fairy Godmother. “She is a flash of light in a dark world.” Wish to encounter the real Fairy Godmother? Contact her at JoanneKingHerring@gmail.com.

Hair and Makeup by Aubrie Layne using Balmain Hair Couture, Ellis Faas Cosmetics, Lucky Cat Beauty, and Gucci Beauty. Production by XTheStudio. John A. Evatz-Global Luxury and Lifestyle Advisor, for Jaeinterests-Defining Luxury selects jewelry from Tenenbaum Jewelers of Houston, TX. Special thanks to Mr. Larry Brookshire for allowing access to his home for this production. All images photographed at the Brookshire Residence in Houston, TX. See home feature on Page 162


JOANNE HERRING

Photographed in front of Blind, 2013 by Anish Kapoor in the gray panel living room of the Brookshire residence in Houston, TX. Priscilla Leather-Trimmed Velvet Dress by Ralph Lauren Collection, available at Saks Fifth Avenue. Diamond Sautoir Necklace by Bulgari designed by Pierre Cardin, Joanne's own. Earrings from Tenenbaum Jewelers selected by John A. Evatz.

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BETTINA RHEIMS


F E AT U R E

Rose Mc Gowan sinking in a bath of roses, September 1996, New York Š Bettina Rheims

Bettina Rheims analyzes gender and sexuality through her own provocative and intimate lens. Photographing unguarded starlets, plush toys, and strippers. Producing iconic photographs alongside Guy Bourdin and Helmut Newton, Bettinaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s work is a labor of love and lust. Interview by Marc Sifuentes


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oday in social media, whether through Instagram or Facebook, there is heated debate throughout the world surrounding gender constructs and sexuality. Thanks to Bettina Rheims and other female pioneers of the arts, women are able to express their own views of what it means to be female through images rather than just words. Beginning her career in France in 1978, Bettina photographed the female body, and her love of shooting flesh began. Soon that love turned into a career of portraying women as raw, sexual, real, and obstinately their own. Now, from Lena Dunham to Laverne Cox, powerful influencers are free to share their own views of what they think it means to be a woman. Her latest book published by Taschen, self-titled Bettina Rheims, is the largest retrospective she has undergone so far, and each turn of the page exemplifies Rheims’ fascination with gender constructs, fragility and strength, and her signature blend of eroticism, vulnerability, and womanly beauty. We were fortunate enough to talk to Bettina and learn about how she first began behind the camera, working in photography for the past four decades, and what is next for her in the world of gender studies, fame, and feminism.

I wanted to start from the beginning of your career and ask if there was a single event which inspired your decision to become a photographer? I never had a career plan; I never thought beyond the next step. When Serge Bramly gave me a camera in the mid-seventies, and I looked through the viewer, I had the feeling that I was home. I had all sorts of stupid jobs and none of them were really interesting to me. I looked through the viewer of that camera and I thought, “Wow this is incredible! I am going to spend the rest of my time focusing on what I want to look at and editing out the rest”. I never thought it could be a profession. I was raised to believe that I had to have a boring profession, and maybe I could do something on the side for pleasure. The idea that I was going to spend the rest of my life wanting to run to work was something I never thought about.

How do you feel your friendship with Helmut Newton influenced your career, if at all? He became sort of my mentor. I met him through Nicole Wisniak who was doing this amazing magazine called Egoiste, and Helmut was her star photographer. They published my series of pictures of strippers, and Helmut said he wanted to meet the woman behind them. I was very shy about meeting him. He was something big, and I was only twenty-five years old. He decided he was going to

coach me somehow. So, every Thursday when Helmut and (his wife) June were in Paris, we would meet for dinner and I would bring my latest pictures. He would criticize them, too much sometimes, but it grew into a real friendship. Helmut encouraged me a lot, he was the first person who told me I should work in color because I was only shooting in black and white. He said if I was going to be a photographer, I had to start shooting in color and going out in real life.

When Helmut would give you a harsh critique, did you ever argue that you had your own style and beliefs that you wanted to stay true to or did you absorb his criticism and learn from it? I wasn’t taking all of his advice because his vision of women was so different from mine. Our pictures were very different. He was into luxury and treating women like objects in his photography, and I have a different relationship with women. One day I figured enough was enough and I decided “to hell with him” and I slammed the door on our relationship. We did not talk for awhile, but soon he came back. It was like it always was, but he never asked to see my pictures again. He would come to all of my shows though.

Do you remember what Mr. Newton might have said that upset you at that time? Yes, I think it was some stupid ad job, and he said this horrible thing. He came to my studio one Sunday and he asked to see my latest work. There was a big portfolio that he started going through, and at one point he said, “Do people really pay you to do that?”. I was so offended. I wasn’t going to take it anymore. That was it professionally, but we stayed friends.

You were talking about the relationship you have with women as your subject, what do you feel are some of the main differences between European and American ideas of feminine sexuality? I think we Europeans are a much more open and straightforward, and there is a lot of hypocrisy in America these days about magazines and what people do and show. What is “politically correct” has become huge in the States and if I had started my career again thirty years later I wouldn’t have found a magazine in the States, maybe a little underground magazine, but no major one would publish my work. In Europe, it’s different. We have always talked in a much more open way about sexuality. It’s not even an issue, it’s just there, a part of our everyday life.

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Not that I find European magazines very exciting these days, but basically I think we have lost a lot of our freedom. I used to love looking at photography books and magazines, and today I would not know what to buy. Everything bores me and it is so predictable.

I feel like there is a lot of political correctness happening right now which has censored and changed the dialogue of the arts. On Instagram you cannot even show a woman’s nipple without being reprimanded with a warning from the company. Well, that’s ridiculous! I mean, this is part of the general hypocrisy!

It is also specific to women. If men are shirtless you can post as many nipples as you want, but if a woman does then the photo gets deleted and she becomes a target for bullies and internet trolls. Well, beyond Instagram, do you think Robert Mapplethorpe could be doing today what he was doing decades ago throughout his whole career?

No, probably not. (laughs) Probably not. We were pioneers! We were opening doors.

You have allowed us to publish some of our favorite images from your new retrospective book published by Taschen entitled Bettina Rheims, could you tell us how you came up for the concept of Rose McGowan in a bathtub full of roses? Well, I was working very closely with a magazine called Details, and at the time it was a very brilliant magazine. James Truman was the editor-in-chief, and they had a brilliant stylist, Bill Mullen, and we worked very closely together. I worked with them for probably four or five years, five or six times a year. They were inventing stories and I went to the states and shot them. I cannot remember exactly, but I do remember that everything came from our conversations with Bill. We were very free with the pictures and what we wanted to do, and the celebrities were also very free and very brave with the images. They were going ahead and giving their best, and it was really a very creative time for me. Bill and I had an ongoing conversation and I said let’s put her in the bathtub, and the roses would eventually appear and we started pulling them apart. I never really have a concept of what I am going to shoot. I know who I am going to shoot, where I am going, and basically what


Image courtesy of TASCHEN

BETTINA RHEIMS

Breakfast with Monica Bellucci, November 1995, Paris © Bettina Rheims

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Karen Elson, nue couronnée de fleurs, Octobre 2000, Paris © Bettina Rheims

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kind of styling I am going for. I make this stupid list of props which always includes flowers and maybe food, and depending on where we go it just builds up. Working with me is more like a performance.

Many celebrities and their publicists seem to be much less open to risk taking than in the past, do you receive restrictions from talent that might limit your creative vision? If people did not think my images suited them then they wouldn’t work with me. Some big celebrities have declined to work with me because they say that it is not a good fit for them, and I totally respect that! We all have the freedom to say yes or no. When I have a feeling that someone would not fit into my world, would not want to play these games with me, would not want to collaborate, would not want to trust me, then I just say no. It’s like a blind date. You have to make people fall in love with you and the other way around, and it has to be a feeling that you will be together for the rest of your life, and after a few hours you just leave them and never see them again! I love that. (laughs)

Kind of like a one night stand. (laughs) Well that brings us to this photo of Madonna, and considering everything you have said, we also know that Madonna is known to be very controlling, and she has a vision that she very rarely strays from. How did you find working with her on the creative level? The fascinating thing is that she saw this book, my most famous book, Chambre Close, which features women taking off their clothes, anonymous women that I found in the street who took off their clothes in this cheap hotel in Paris, the ones you find near a railway. Madonna said, “Find this woman I want to work with her”, and it was easy because she was already into it. She would not come to Paris and there were no hotel rooms like the ones in Chambre Close in New York City, so we had to fly over with these huge rolls of wallpaper and props to create the Parisian hotel room. It was just brilliant! One of the longest shoots ever, many hours, a whole night. I was exhausted. We had enough pictures to do a book, so I said let’s call it a day and go to sleep. But she just wanted to keep shooting more! She approved loads of photos, and she just loved them all. It was fantastic. I have barely used any of them really, out of the ones that she approved. Sometimes you meet someone and it’s amazing chemistry.

Another photo we love is of Monica Bellucci with a plate full of pasta, can you tell us the story behind this photograph? Well, that is a very old picture. I was working a lot with Monica when she was a model, and at that time girls started being very skinny and models started to become very androgynous. Monica was always really a feminine woman. We were in a tiny apartment shooting for The Face, a British magazine, and the stylist pulled out this latex type of red dress and I thought something was missing in the picture. I thought about Monica looking like one of these Italian actresses, like Sophia Loren, and in those films you would always see the female character cooking or eating in the kitchen. So I thought let's push it to the edge and give her pasta, and the pasta needed to be red because of the dress, and then it built up and suddenly this picture had become iconic, and I really do not know why or why any of these pictures became so famous. Some of these have been with me and surrounding me for more than twenty years but people still want to publish them and collector’s still want to buy the prints. I still haven’t really figured out what gives an image this iconic quality.

I think it has to do a lot with what you were saying earlier. When you have a good creative team and everyone connects, there’s this magic that happens-It’s a magic moment and you know it doesn’t happen every time. After all these years you can always make a picture that can be published, but to make a great image, it’s a miracle. I know when the image is there. I stop shooting because there is like a red light that turns on in my head and I know that it cannot get better.

Our next photo is of a brunette Kristin Scott Thomas pulling off a blonde wig; can you tell us more about that image? I remember my favorite hairdresser David Mallett was doing the hair, he was working with me constantly at that time and I remember calling him the night before and telling him to bring a blonde wig. I didn't know what I would even do with it, or if she would even wear it, but then we went with it and it was perfect-- but something was still missing. It was too normal, too pretty. Then as you would strip someone, I started stripping the wig off, and then it just happened. Intuition. The perfect moment. It’s what I love about photography.

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From your vast library of archival photography, how long did it take you to edit down the photos to the final 500 images that are in this latest retrospective book? A year of working on editing and doing the layouts and I wanted to have this little diary that would describe the life of a photographer. What my life has been like and the people who have helped me, taught me, collaborated with me, and inspired me. While also giving a tribute to all of the people who aren’t really talked about like the teams of assistants and hair and makeup, without these people none of these images would exist. I am not a writer who is alone with a white page and a pencil. It was probably two years total from meeting with Taschen to finishing everything.

As a woman working in photography for decades, did you find it hard starting out in a predominantly male-dominated industry years ago? No. No, when I started in the late 70’s there were very few women in photography. A lot of women would say you betray us, but this was a long time ago. Feminists were angry with me because they thought these sexualized pictures should be taken by a man and not a woman, but eventually they understood and they backed me up. Obviously, those (images) could only be shot by a woman. This complicity, this close relationship, this trust that women have with me, they would not have it with a man. Not the same way. It could be more of a seductive relationship, but with me it’s a game and they know it is not a dangerous game. What’s the worst that could happen? They could regret they did a picture and call me back, but it doesn’t happen.

Earlier we discussed working with celebrities in the past, but what about today’s celebrity? Who would you be inspired by today in this new age of social media? I would love to photograph Kim Kardashian. I think she is fascinating. I would love to go back to LA all of these years later and do another LA story. All of these girls, I am fascinated by these “It Girls” who have really done nothing but be there. They don’t do such great movies, they don’t have such a great voice, but they’re just there. For somebody of my generation, it’s absolutely fascinating.

I saw yesterday that Kim Kardashian is on the cover of Forbes Magazine because of <continues on page 74>


Image courtesy of TASCHEN

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Madonna lying on the floor of a red room, September 1994, New York © Bettina Rheims

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Madonna laughing and holding her breast, September 1994, New York Š Bettina Rheims

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what she has done with social media and how she has been able to brand herself and make millions simply by posting on Instagram and Snapchat. She is a social media mogul now. She captioned her own post of the photo #notbadforagirlwithnotalent. I mean, I love the idea of no talent turned into genius! I have always been interested in what’s happening in the present, I’ve always been inspired by people I had found on the street, etc. You know, I wouldn’t post pictures of me or my grandson or even pictures of what I have on my plate, but you have to be fascinated by that. I would love to go back and do a new LA story with Bill Mullen, it would be great.

I wanted to also ask you about all of the books that you have published, and if you had to choose, which one is closest to your heart? Oh my god that’s like asking which one of my family member’s would I not drown! Of course my heart goes to this current one because I worked so hard on it. I did it because I am a grandmother. Benedict Taschen was asking me for a long time if I wanted to do a big Bettina book and I always said it was too early, but then I became a grandmother which became something major in my life. I never thought I would, I thought I’d be dead! So, if I disappeared tomorrow I want to leave him something that he would know his grandmother by. I want him to read the text and see the images and go, “Wow, she really was different”. I love all of the books I did with my gender questions and I love my celebrity books and I love Chambre Close. My big pride is that maybe, just maybe, I have opened up some doors for people. I have helped people understand things that were not out in the public. I think that’s what we should do as artists, open doors. If they want to try to understand something or learn something, that’s how I start to work on a series. Because if I do not understand something. It always starts with a question, and I try to answer with my camera.

Was that your approach with diving into Gender Studies? It really started with androgyny in the late 80’s. It was during the AIDS epidemic and all of our friends who were dying. I lost many of my friends in the late 80’s and early 90’s. I was doing a casting for a job, and at that casting was this man named Cameron who had long hair and who was very, very beautiful, but not feminine, more like a Christ figure. This girl came in

named Josie who looked like a little boy, but had a woman’s body. I did a polaroid with the two of them, and I started wondering what is this androgynous thing and what is happening? This hasn’t been around since the 20’s. Then I went to London and started casting and I found this bunch of kids who weren’t able to have sex anymore because of AIDS, so their only approach was seduction. They found this new androgyny, playing on both sides. After meeting Kim Harlow, I did a book, Kim, where she was transitioning and it was my first approach with transgenderism. Then she introduced me to her friends in the early 80’s, and people had no desire to look at transgender people. They thought they were just drag queens and they should just stay in the woods. Slowly, little by little, this phenomenon started to grow and take up space. I did a casting on Facebook and said if you feel different and feel you belong somewhere else then send us a picture. I got hundreds of pictures from the suburbs of Rio to Orange County, from everywhere. Crying for help, saying “take me, I want to pose for you.” Then they came and it was brilliant! I met all of these people who decided they were a part of the third sex. It is fascinating, this new phenomenon.

Did you feel like you were helping them, the people who you met throughout those castings, by immortalizing their stories through photography? There has always been that thing. I was going to bring them out of their bedrooms, from their closet, and they were proud of that. We talked and made this beautiful soundbyte where they discussed their difficulties and issues with family and friends and sex. It was brilliant. I have this feeling that when you support a cause like that you add stones to a monument that is being built, and it’s great! Voila!

Actually, in our last issue we did an interview with the curator of the Irving Penn exhibit, and she mentioned that a lot of people were attending without any knowledge of film photography. She had to come up with an interactive way for them to realize that the images had an art to them because of the lighting and the the developing and the dark room. Many people today do not understand that the technical side of photography is also part of the art process. How do you give photography advice to the younger generation? I wouldn’t know what to say. I don’t think photographing your food and your clothes

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is the way to get there. I mean, I think you have to have a vision and subject. You have to bring something new. The world is full of images. We’re overwhelmed! We’re drowning in images. Today, if I were young, I definitely would not have become a photographer. Also, nobody realizes how much work it is, You know, to have a show at twenty five years old and be brilliant for five minutes is not that difficult. When you last for almost forty years and you are still working hard and getting up with headaches and toothaches and still getting to work, then you realize that this is all just work. Maybe you do not have to study, but it takes the experience of life. I don’t believe you can become a great photographer in twenty years, I think you have to live your life and then try to start thinking.

You spoke about how the book was for your grandchild, but what would you want your legacy to be as a photographer in general? I don’t know, I never think about that. I think, “I am going on vacation now, but what I am going to be doing when I get back? Do I have a project? Do I have an idea?” Legacy would be very presumptuous. What’s the future of the world? What do we leave for our children? What great values, what essential thing? This is more important to me than what do I leave them. I believe that we live in a very complicated time and there are so many issues that are more important than my own legacy. I just hope that we can conserve our freedom, that the environment isn’t going to eat us up-- there are so many big issues at the beginning of this millennium. I have always lived an honest life and my work was always honest, it has always come from my heart. There was never a calculation to see what I had to do to work in fashion or what I had to do to work with certain people. I just kept on doing what I thought was right. ‡

BETTINA RHEIMS available on TASCHEN.COM


Image courtesy of TASCHEN

BETTINA RHEIMS

Kristin Scott Thomas playing with a blond wig, May 2002, Paris © Bettina Rheims

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Photography and Interview by Dustin Mansyur Creative Direction by Louis Liu Styling by Marc Sifuentes Grooming by Lydia Brock

Bridging the gap between runway to reality, the Neiman Marcus SVP and Fashion Director is one of the industry’s foremost sages of what’s new, now, and next in the glittering world of fashion. 76


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Ken Downing


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s one of the most influential personas working in fashion today, with thirty years of experience, Ken Downing is surprisingly down-to-earth. As Senior Vice President and Fashion Director for Neiman Marcus, one might assume the fashion industry heavyweight to be cool and aloof. However, upon arriving to the Soho studio for his portrait, Mr. Downing is anything but. He brings with him an energy of responsive openness and light-hearted excitement. Equal parts fashion psychic, global brand ambassador, and raconteur, Downing’s agile ability to juggle the many weighty responsibilities is balanced by humorous and effervescent charm. “It takes a bit of crazy to stay sane in the ever-changing world of fashion,” he jokes. The power of intuition has been a guiding force in his life and career, and his playful approach to those he encounters has only reinforced this gift. “The opportunity to spend time with my customers keeps me grounded to the reality of the end user, it's the greatest education. Every time I'm in a store meeting customers, I'm all ears. They keep the dream of fashion real!” As a member of the CFDA/ Vogue Fashion Fund, Downing scours the globe in search of uncovering fashion’s most promising emerging talent. “I see with my heart and my soul! I rely on gut instinct! My heart, and my gut are hard-wired to my eyes, beauty always drives me, it's as simple as that,” he gushes. His candor is surprisingly refreshing. Perhaps because despite the hefty accolades of titles (which are enough to be any aspiring fashionista’s wet dream), Ken is still quite in touch with where he started. Attributing much of his success to the formative support and encouragement his mother gave him as a child, Ken is pleasantly honest about his upbringing, “I was a child with an enormous imagination, I lived vicariously through the pages of my mother’s Vogue magazines… when most parents would have feared a child who openly voiced an interest in fashion, my mother encouraged me, even though it was far from the conventional route for a little boy, she allowed me to embrace my desires. I never looked back!” It’s the kind of back-story that’s relatable to many who work in an alltoo-real industry built on the allure of fantasy. Beginning his career at the global luxury retailer in 1990, Downing joined Neiman Marcus’ visual department in Beverly Hills. Just two years later, he was promoted as Visual Manager in the same store, thereafter furthering his career to Director of Visual Planning and Presentation in all stores. Excelling naturally in the art of communication and a gifted curator of media, Downing subsequently advanced to Vice

President of Public Relations in 1997 before being appointed to his current role in 2006. Here Iris Covet Book gets a glimpse into the glamorous, jet-set world of one of the fashion industry’s most efficacious guiding lights.

Where did you grow up and did your interest in fashion begin in youth? I grew up in the Pacific Northwest, in Seattle, with a fashion-obsessed mother and grandmother. Both of my parents had great style, and felt personal presentation and image were important, not only in how they dressed, but also how they decorated our home and how they entertained. Style touched every aspect of my life from an early age. It became wildly apparent early on that teddy bears and toy trucks held little interest to me, I was far more fascinated with the way people dressed and how they decorated their homes. That’s not necessarily normal for a child of five or six years old, but it's what my eye was drawn to.

How did you get started working in the fashion industry and was this a career path you imagined for yourself ? I was a child with an enormous imagination, I lived vicariously through the pages of my mother’s Vogue magazines, her pattern books, and home and garden publications. My mother and grandmother made most of their own clothes, taking the bodice from one pattern, adapting it to the bottom of another, switching sleeves, sewing clothes out of non traditional fabrics, like swimwear Lycra. Growing up around fabrics, notions and the constant whir of the sewing machine pretty much set me on the path that ultimately became my career. My mother, unknowingly was determining my destiny, she denies it, but it's pretty obvious when I look at the influences that surrounded me. She was busy building the Neiman Marcus Fashion Director from afar.

Can you describe your current role and responsibilities at Neiman Marcus? As the Senior Vice President/Fashion Director for Neiman Marcus, I set the tone each season for the fashion direction of our men's and women's businesses. As the global fashion ambassador for the brand, I interface with local, national and international media and press communicating the trends, style and runway relevance of each season. My fashion communication goes far beyond style and business media, it

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includes the importance of fashion communication within the Neiman Marcus Group organization to our Merchant teams, Advertising and Marketing teams, Public Relations and Visual Merchandising department to ensure a consistent fashion message across the entire brand. My fashion communication is often shared with designers and showrooms around the country and around the world, giving insight to collections and brands of what we, as a fashion leading retailer are most interested in for the coming seasons. When I'm not at market, sitting front row, or working with my teams in showrooms, I'm traveling to Neiman Marcus stores, curating trend fashion shows and meeting customers face to face at personal appearances, a part of my role I love, and find the most rewarding. Writing has also become an important part of my role as the Fashion Director, contributing to the Neiman Marcus Blog, designer interviews, marketing communication, fashion forecasting and more! Of course, uncovering new and emerging talent is another facet of my role that I enjoy tremendously, through my work with the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund, or keeping my radar finely tuned to new talent, discovering the next design greats is not only rewarding for me, but ultimately rewarding for our customers and their closets!

What have you learned the most within your current role as Senior Vice President and Fashion Director? The most important thing I've learned and that I continue to allow to drive me to this day is NEVER forget the customer! It's why we do what we do. Also what my mother told me years ago, "Pretty, NOT peculiar; no woman wants to look weird.” These are words I live by.

Have you ever had a great mentor and what did they impress upon you? Mentors are amongst us, and we often don't realize their influence until years later. Obviously my mother has been a great influence to me from the very beginning. My Art History, History of Costume professor from college, Francis Harder, who I keep in contact with to this day, believed in me from the very beginning and encouraged me to never give up. She knew intuitively I had the "it" that it takes to succeed.


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Diane Von Furstenberg, whom my mother brought me to meet as a young boy in Seattle. Diane asked me when I met her "What can I do for you?" I replied "I want to work in fashion" her words have stayed with me for decades, "You will darling, you will!" and I do! And certainly Anna Wintour, one of the smartest, most driven women in our industry. Anna's commitment to the success of our industry and its talent is unparalleled. She inspires me every day.

What trends are you into this season that the Neiman Marcus woman is going to respond to? It's an exciting season! I'm crazy-obsessed with the many Ziggy Stardust, glam rock references that filled fall's runways. Performance-stage style with the abundance of bold gold and the gleam of the many metallics look particularly fresh, and give instant glitter rock relevance to everything a woman will wear for the season. A gold shoe or gold boogie, immediately updates everything. Velvet, velvet and more VELVET! Shoes, handbags, ready-to-wear for her; and velvet for him, giving a Mick Jagger swagger to his wardrobe. Velvet is as essential as denim in my opinion for the coming season. Embellished, decorated and adorned; everything continues the importance of the opulent glam rock recklessness that makes the season shine. Handbags, shoes, and ready-to-wear have never seen so much adornment and decoration since the late 70's and early 80's. Maximalism for fall proves that more is more, less is a bore.

As a member of the CFDA and Fashion Director of Neiman Marcus, you are constantly attentive to what’s on the horizon in fashion and its emerging talents, what upcoming designers’ work are you following and inspired by presently? New and emerging talent are the future of fashion, and the fresh voices that keep us eager for what's next, I'm big fans of the team at Monse, Fernando Garcia and Laura Kim, Texan Brandon Maxwell who cut his teeth creating Lady Gaga's style and Brock, the husband and wife team Laura Vassar and Kris Brock.

What designers’ shows are you looking forward to this season? I am always excited about a new season

The advice I give all women is this: dress in a style that is flattering to your personality, your figure and your position in life. Love the skin you’re in! and the new message that designers put forth, approaching each season with fresh eyes keeps me hungry and curious for the new, the next and the noteworthy. I'm a huge fan of Joseph Altuzarra and look forward to see what he presents in NY, I am also a big fan of Jack and Laz, at Proenza Schouler. Erdem is a must see for me in London! Alessandro Michele has been nothing short of brilliant at Gucci, a favorite season after season. Demna Gvasalia has in a short period of time created a sensation at Balenciaga. With a new collection to be premiered by Valentino alum Maria Grazia Chiuri at Dior, and the newly appointed Anthony Vacarello at the helm of Saint Laurent, there is much to anticipate in the coming season!

What style advice would give to any woman who’s looking to revamp their look? The advice I give all women is this: dress in a style that is flattering to your personality, your figure and your position in life. Love the skin you’re in! Wear clothes that give you confidence, not clothes that make you feel uncomfortable. Fashion is 99% confidence, 1% the clothes!

You are a huge supporter of the arts, what philanthropic projects do you have in the works that will benefit the arts? I'm crazy excited about a massive project that I'm currently undertaking in my newly adopted city of Detroit. I am in the process of renovating a

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100-year-old historic mansion in the Arden Park neighborhood of Detroit, that when completed with be an "Artist in Residence" to house up to 4 talents, with painting and sculpture studios in the Carriage garage. The house will eventually be my full time residence, with the intent of being an epicenter for art, fashion, and other cultural events. While the project is as much preservation, as renovation, the home will be filled with site specific installations and many works of the artist that will be in residence on the property. As a collector, I have always had an enormous fondness for young, emerging artists, and am excited to create an environment that encourages creativity, while contributing to the rebirth of a great American city that has captured my heart.

What artistic movements do you draw inspiration from? Art, artists and artistic movements have always inspired me, my mother instilled in me at an early age that empty walls should make me nervous, and they do! I am not particularly loyal to any specific time period or genre of art or artistic movement. Much like fashion, my heart, my soul and my never-lying eyes, lead me to my passions. I can't imagine limiting my creative spirit!

Who or what are you collecting at the moment? I am a collector of art, furniture, realestate. Collecting is my greatest addiction, when I'm not sitting with great curiosity front row at the runways of the world, my curious spirit takes me on adventures to galleries, museums, art fairs, and undiscovered neighborhoods around America. They say, "Curiosity killed the cat,” but I certainly have no intentions of dying from that!

With the demands of the fashion industry’s schedule, you live a global jet set life. What essentials are a non-compromising while traveling? If it was only that easy! I'm a very seasoned and efficient traveler. As much as I love maximalism, when it comes to travel, I'm the ultimate minimalist! My needs are simple, a Starbucks grande latte is truly my only requirement in the morning, unless I'm in Milan, where


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I have always had the ability to make solid decisions on the spot, and don't over think things. Overthinking signals a lack of confidence. I am thoroughly confident in my decisions and point of view. I do super cappuccinos from Bianco Latte! My motto when I travel is "Live like a local." It allows me to see the world through a local’s lens. I find that ultimately the most rewarding.

In order to balance your many different roles, do you have any daily rituals that you practice that you find give you focus or clarity? I find that putting out the fire closest to my foot, while addressing each situation that is put in front of me with immediacy is the only way I can keep ahead and stay focused. I have always had the ability to make solid decisions on the spot, and don't overthink things. Overthinking signals a lack of confidence. I am thoroughly confident in my decisions and point of view. Gut instinct has always served me well, and a Starbucks Grande Latte!

The fashion industry is experiencing massive changes while in process of adapting and embracing technology. What do you foresee for the future of the fashion industry? The digital era we live in today has changed our industry in ways many

haven't begun to embrace. The immediacy and speed that the customer is receiving information, living fashion in real time is a game changer, that will ultimately change the industry. Fashion fatigue is real, customers tire of trends and styles long before they ever reach traditional brick and mortar or online e-commerce sites. The exciting news is that the customer is super engaged with fashion and trends, technology has opened the conversation of fashion beyond the traditional boundaries in ways many could have never comprehended. The challenge is aligning customer excitement within a time frame that goods are available to purchase. The old model of fashion shows being 6 months in advance of fashion being delivered is antique and outmoded. The conventional fashion show is no longer a retailer, press experience; it's has become a megamarketing extravaganza geared to the public and social media. The paying public does not have the attention span to hold interest in anything for sixty seconds, let alone six months. I foresee that traditional fashion show taking place in real time as goods are being delivered to retail, with buying appointments taking an "old school" approach, happening in the quiet of showrooms for retailers and top press, without the aid of social media leaking the looks. Time will tell, but to save the integrity of the retail model and the integrity of great design, it will become not only necessary, but paramount to our industry to regain control of the imagery that is released into the stratosphere so we can excite the customer in real time, instead of lulling them into boredom by the time fashion is delivered.

In light of this immediacy demanded by consumer culture, how do you think e-commerce has evolved over the last decade or so? Neiman Marcus was at the forefront of e-commerce as the first luxury retailer to go online over fifteen years ago. Today, e-commerce is so much more than just selling goods on a website. It is creating compelling content that entertains, as well as engages the customer. Creating an online experience that parallels in-store shopping is more important than ever as

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the customer shops both channels and expects superlative service no matter their channel of shopping.

What bearing does technology have on creativity in fashion at the moment? Technology and social media has become the visual feast that ignites, excites and energizes our senses, technology is not going away, there is no putting the Genie back in the bottle, it will only become more and more prolific over time. It's time that technology become the asset that it can be to our industry instead of the liability it has become currently.

What are your sentiments about social media? Social media is a powerful channel of communication giving many and any, a voice about their passions and opinions, many positive, some, not so much. As with any media, traditional or otherwise, you choose the voices and opinions you let into your life. I feel great responsibility when I personally post and engage in social media, it is a mammoth platform for positive images and words. It also allows me the ability to keep the dream of fashion not only alive, but relevant for the world we live in today, welcoming many that may not have access to the world that I live in every day.

What admonition would you give to young persons who are considering a career path in the fashion industry? The fashion industry has never been more embracing of young and emerging talent! What was once a velvet rope industry, has become far more inclusive, than exclusive. Work hard, experience anything and everything you can, and stay curious, you'll achieve your dreams.

What’s a piece of style advice you always follow? Good hair gets you everywhere!

What’s next for you? Next is not in my vocabulary. Evolution is more my mode, the continuation of melding my love of art and of fashion. You may possibly see more of me on TV...I'll leave it at that. ‡


KEN DOWNING

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WOMEN'S FASHION

C'EST CHIC

PARISIAN GLAMOUR: AN ELEGANT, SOPHISTICATED, AND EFFORTLESS LIFESTYLE OF CHAMPAGNE AND BEDROOM EYES. THIS SEASON IS ALL ABOUT NONCHALANT BEAUTY AND STYLE. Photography by Hao Zeng | Styling by Anna Katsanis Art Direction by Louis Liu | Editor Marc Sifuentes Models Georgia Fowler @ IMG Models

This Spread: Denim Suit by Georgine, White Fur Coat by Elena Benarroch and Shoes by Kate Spade

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C'EST CHIC

Left Page: Dress by Carven, Shoes by Miu Miu, Earrings and Rings by Ana Khouri. Right Page: Dress and Shoes by Valentino, Earrings and Rings by Ana Khouri.

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C'EST CHIC

This Spread: Coat and Boots by Burberry, Top by Jill Stuart, Skirt by M Missoni, Earrings by Altuzarra

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Left Page: Fur Coat by Elena Benarroch, Dress by Jill Stuart. Right Page: Fur Coat by Cheng-huai Chuang, Gown by Etro, Earrings by Ana Khouri and Shoes by Jill Stuart.

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C'EST CHIC

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C'EST CHIC

This Spread: Coat and Socks by Miu Miu, Skirt by Michael Kors, Sweater by M Missoni, Earrings and Rings by Ana Khouri. Hair by Takuya Sugawara @ Walter Schupfer Management using Aveda, Makeup by Miriam Robstad @ Bryan Bantry, Manicure by Honey Nailz, Video Director of Photography Kao Cheng Kai, Production by XTheStudio, Stylist Assistant Jaclyn Mastropasqua, Production Assistant Benjamin Price.

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This Page: Coat by Michael Kors, Blue Track Jacket by Adidas, White Turtle Neck by Versace, and Pants by Private Policy, Shoes by Nike. Opposite Page: Jacket, Pants and Shoes by Prada, T-Shirt by North Face.

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MEN'S FASHION

NIGHT WALK

THE COMBINATION OF ATHLETIC-WEAR AND READY-TO-WEAR CREATES A TEMPTING JUXTAPOSITION BETWEEN THE FANTASY OF NIGHTLIFE AND THE REALITY OF THE DAY TO COME. Photography by Danny Lim | Styling by Marc Sifuentes | Art Direction by Louis Liu Model Paolo Anchisi @ Ford Models

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This Page: Bomber Jacket by Versace, T-Shirt by Nike, and Pants by Sandro. Opposite Page: Fur Coat and Scarf by Roberto Cavalli, and Turtle Neck by Billy Reid.

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NIGHT WALK

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This Page: Coat by Burberry, Orange Windbreaker by Uniqlo, Sweater Vest by Missoni, Pants by Coach. Opposite Page: Coat by Sandro, Yellow Track Jacket by Puma, Pants and Shoes by Michael Kors.

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NIGHT WALK

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NIGHT WALK

This Spread: Coat by Billy Reid, Blue Track Jacket by Adidas, Knit Sweater by Canali, Pants by Etro.

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This Spread: Shearling Coat by Coach, Jean Jacket by Mavi Jeans, Orange Windbreaker by Uniqlo, Turtle Neck by Private Policy, and Pants by Missoni. Hair by Yuhi Kim @ Bridge Artists, Grooming by Kento Utsubo, Film Strips by Alvin Kean Wong, Stylist assistants Benjamin Price, Production by XTheStudio

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NIGHT WALK

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This Spread: Jacket by Burberry, Bodysuit by American Apparel, and Pants by Céline.

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WOMEN'S FASHION

NIPPED WAISTS, VOLUMINOUS SHOULDERS, AND SKY-HIGH LEGS. MODEL CARLY MOORE SHOWS US FASHION IS ALL ABOUT VOLUME AND EXAGGERATED PROPORTIONS. WE WANT MORE! Photography by Franco Schicke | Styling by Ron Hartleben | Art Direction by Louis Liu Model Carly Moore @ Society Management | Editor Marc Sifuentes

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Opposite Page: Coat by Alexander Wang, Top and Corset(on top) by Loewe, Corset (on bottom) by Prada, Underwear by Hanro and Tights by Falke.

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G I M M E ( C A R LY ) M O O R E !

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G I M M E ( C A R LY ) M O O R E !

This Spread: High Neck Sweater, Coat and Belt by Versace, and Boots by Pleaser.

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This Spread: Shearling Aviator with Snakeskin Panels by Burberry, Bodysuit by American Apparel, Pants by Céline, and Boots by Pleaser.

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G I M M E ( C A R LY ) M O O R E !

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Opposite Page: Coat and Sweater by Michael Kors Collection, Corset by Prada, and Belt Stylist's Own.

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G I M M E ( C A R LY ) M O O R E !

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This Spread: Coat, Shirt and Corset by Prada and Boots by Pleaser.

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G I M M E ( C A R LY ) M O O R E !

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G I M M E ( C A R LY ) M O O R E !

Opposite Page: Coat, Jacket, and Belt by Givenchy by Ricardo Tisci and Pants by Céline.

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This Spread: Coat by Matthew Adams Dolan, Turtleneck by Dior, Corset by Prada, Pants and Shoes by Céline.

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G I M M E ( C A R LY ) M O O R E !

Hair by Peter Matteliano @ Kate Ryan using HASK, Makeup by Grace Ahn using MAC Cosmetics, Stylist Assistant Marta Garcia Diaz-Pines, Production by XTheStudio.

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BRAEDEN WRIGHT – EYES BROWN HAIR BROWN HEIGHT 189CM/6'2.5" WAIST 79CM/31" SHOE 44 EU/10 US/9.5 UK – INSTAGRAM@BRAEDENWRIGHT WATCH BRAEDEN DANCE IN HIS VIDEO ON IRISCOVETBOOK.COM

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MEN'S FASHION

CALVIN KLEIN X MEN OF SOUL

WITH RAF SIMONS’ ENTRANCE TO CALVIN KLEIN, WE ARE HONORING THE BRAND’S LEGACY AS A YOUNG, FREE-SPIRITED, AND PROVOCATIVE DESIGN HOUSE. THE SMOLDERING FACES OF NEW YORK’S SOUL ARTIST MANAGEMENT ARE THE PERFECT CANVAS FOR THE ICONIC BRAND’S CELEBRATION OF INDIVIDUALITY AND SEX APPEAL. Photography by Kao Cheng Kai | Styling by Marc Sifuentes Art Direction by Louis Liu | Grooming by Lydia Brock

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C A LV I N K L E I N X M E N O F S O U L

DEVIN ALEXANDER – EYES BROWN HAIR BLACK HEIGHT 188CM/6'2" WAIST 81CM/32" SHOE 44.5 EU/10.5 US/10 UK – INSTAGRAM@ITSDEVINALEXANDER WATCH DEVIN SHOW OFF HIS FIGHTING MOVES IN HIS VIDEO ON IRISCOVETBOOK.COM

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C A LV I N K L E I N X M E N O F S O U L

LEO ELLER – EYES BLUE HAIR DARK BLONDE HEIGHT 185CM/6'1" WAIST 81CM/32" SHOE 43.5 EU/10 US/9.5 UK – INSTAGRAM@LEO.ELLER CATCH LEO’S DASHING SMILE IN HIS VIDEO ON IRISCOVETBOOK.COM

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LOGAN BOONE – EYES BLUE HAIR DIRTY BLONDE HEIGHT 189CM/6'2.5" WAIST 76CM/30" SHOE 45 EU/11 US/10.5 UK – INSTAGRAM@LOGANBOONEOF WATCH LOGAN GET WET IN HIS VIDEO ON IRISCOVETBOOK.COM

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C A LV I N K L E I N X M E N O F S O U L

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DANNY LIM – EYES BROWN HAIR BLACK HEIGHT 185CM/6'1" WAIST 79CM/31" SHOE 25.5 EU/9 US/8 UK – INSTAGRAM@DANNNY.LIM FIND OUT WHAT DANNY THINKS IS SEXY IN HIS VIDEO ON IRISCOVETBOOK.COM

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C A L V I NI R KI SL ECI O N VXE TM EB NO OO KF S O U L

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C A LV I N K L E I N X M E N O F S O U L

BENNETT JONAS – EYES GREEN HAIR BROWN HEIGHT 188CM/6'2" WAIST 81CM/32" SHOE 27.5 EU/11 US/10 UK – INSTAGRAM@BENNETT_JONAS CATCH BENNETT FLEXING HIS MUSCLES IN HIS VIDEO ON IRISCOVETBOOK.COM

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WILLIAM HAWKINS – EYES BLUE HAIR BLACK HEIGHT 185CM/6'1" WAIST 81CM/32" SHOE 29 EU/ 12.5 US/11.5 UK – INSTAGRAM@WILLIAMHAWKINS_20 FIND OUT WHAT MAKES WILLIAM NAUGHTY IN HIS VIDEO ON IRISCOVETBOOK.COM

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Casting and Production by XTheStudio, Special Thanks to Calvin Klein for Providing all clothing. All models were provided by Soul Artist Management.


C A LV I N K L E I N X M E N O F S O U L

PHILIPP PRÖLS – EYES BLUE/GREEN HAIR DARK BLONDE HEIGHT 188CM/6'2" WAIST 76CM/30" SHOE 45 EU/11 US/10.5 UK – INSTAGRAM@PHILIPPPROELS WATCH PHILIPP SMOLDER IN HIS VIDEO ON IRISCOVETBOOK.COM

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Fur Jacket by Burberry, Gold Mini Dress by Saint Laurent, Handbag by Tom Ford, all available at Neiman Marcus. Rings by Bibi Curri, available at Sloan/Hall.

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WOMEN'S FASHION

EXCESS-ORIZE TOO MUCH IS NEVER ENOUGH! FALL IS COMING AND IT IS TIME TO WAKE THE FURS FROM THEIR SLUMBER, PILE ON YOUR FAVORITE BAGS AND COATS, AND EMBRACE THE DESIRE FOR EXCESSIVE LUXURY. Photography by Collin Kelly | Styling by Leslie Rivas | Art Direction by Louis Liu Models Sarah Blakemore @ Page Parkes Agency | Hair and Makeup by Bianca Linette | Editor Marc Sifuentes

Grey Fur Coat by JosÄ&#x201C; Sanchez. Gunmetal Chain Bag by Stella McCartney, available at Neiman Marcus. Pearl Diamond Rings by Bibi Curri, and Belt by Fausto Puglisi, both available at Sloan/Hall. Sunglasses by Chanel, available at Saks Fifth Avenue.

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Gold Fur Stole by Josē Sanchez. Plum Sequined 2 Piece Skirt and Blouse by Tom Ford, Black Belt by Saint Laurent, Floral Coat by Valentino, and Handbags by Chloé, all available at Neiman Marcus.

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EXCESS-ORIZE

Blue Mongolian Lamb Fur Coat by Moschino, available at The Fur Salon at Saks Fifth Avenue. Blue Embellished Chain Bag by Stella McCartney, Sunglasses by Miu Miu, both available at Neiman Marcus. Clear Bangles by Maison Margiela, available at Sloan/Hall.

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Pink and Black Fur Stole and Pink Reversable Fur/Leather Long Vest by JosÄ&#x201C; Sanchez. Holographic Eye Bag by Jimmy Choo and Necklace by Lafayette 148, Both available Saks Fifth Avenue. Black Sheer Gloves by Maison Margiela and Caged pearl earrings by Bibi Curri, both available at Sloan/Hall.

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EXCESS-ORIZE

Leopard Jacket by Tom Ford and Black High Waisted Pants by Brunello Cucinell, both available at Neiman Marcus. Safety Pin Brooches by Sonia Rykiel and Multi Buckle Belt by Maison Margiela, both available at Sloan/Hall. Snakeskin Belt by Saint Laurent, Red Velvet and Crocodile-Embossed Leather Chain Bag by Saint Laurent, all available at Saks Fifth Avenue.

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Coat by The Row, both Python Handbags by Tom Ford, all available at Neiman Marcus. Fur Vest by Trilogy Collections and Sunglasses by Fendi, both available at Saks Fifth Avenue. Chain Necklaces by Liza Beth available at Sloan/Hall.

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Jordan Roach + Minett Mouton Assistant Stylist | Casting and Production by XTheStudio

EXCESS-ORIZE

Coat by Cèline, available at Niemam Marcus. Fur scarf by Josē Sanchez. Fur Handbag by Valentino, available at Saks Fifth Avenue. Rings by Bibi Curri available at Sloan/Hall.

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This Page: Untitled #363, 1976/2000, gelatin silver print, framed: 115/8 x91/8 x1in.(29.53 x23.18 x2.54cm) Opposite Page: Untitled #92, 1981 chromogenic color print, 24 x48in.(60.96 x121.92cm) Š Cindy Sherman, Courtesy of the artist and Metro Pictures

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ART

Cindy Sherman IMITATION OF LIFE

An icon of photography and intellectual dialogue around persona and art, Cindy Sherman’s photography has changed art, fashion, and culture. Her life’s work is currently on display at The Broad in Los Angeles through October 2, 2016. Interview by Chelito Villaflor

F

rom her early beginnings photographing herself in costumes in the 1970’s to becoming a legend in the realm of photography, Sherman has made herself a fixture in gallery spaces as well as auspicious private collections. Through her use of identity, acting, and exploring tropes of character development, Sherman has created some of the most thoughtful works of photography that hold up a mirror to society while simultaneously bringing humor and beauty. The Broad is not the first to put up an exhibition of Cindy Sherman’s work; however, The Broad has dedicated itself to the works of Cindy Sherman for over thirty years and its collection is unmatched. In order to truly understand the scope of Sherman’s work, it is necessary to experience it live, in person, and organized-- like the scenes of a movie. It was a privilege for us to speak with Philip Kaiser, the guest curator for this special exhibition, and learn how he directed these pieces and his interpretation of Sherman’s work.

Eli Broad collected Cindy Sherman’s work since the early 80’s and key pieces have been contributed to the exhibition from Metro Pictures, the Whitney Museum, the Museum of Fine Arts Houston and The Menil Collection. Do you know why Cindy Sherman was chosen to be The Broad’s very first exhibition? Was there any reason you were asked to be the guest curator for the show? Do you have a special relationship with Sherman’s work? The Broad invited me to be the guest curator for this show. I have worked with many artists of the so-called Pictures Generation – artists who combine interests in popular culture and conceptualism – and I am thrilled to have curated Cindy Sherman: Imitation of Life at The Broad. With over 125 works by

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Cindy Sherman in the Broad collection, it is fitting that The Broad chose Cindy Sherman for the first special exhibition.

The Douglas Sirk reference "Imitation of Life" is the perfect description of identity, representation, and Hollywood tropes. How does having the show in Los Angeles act as a backdrop for this show and play with these ideas? Cindy Sherman chose the title, and not only does ‘Imitation of Life’ nod to Douglas Sirk’s 1959 melodrama, it also emphasizes Sherman’s thorough relationship to movie culture, and of course imitation is at the core of her artistic practice. Located in Los Angeles, the heart of moviemaking, the exhibition’s theme is the relationship between Sherman’s work and the cinematic.


IRIS COVET BOOK

Untitled #447, 2005, chromogenic color print 48 x 72 in. (121.92 x 182.88 cm) Š Cindy Sherman Courtesy of the artist and Metro Pictures

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CINDY SHERMAN

Untitled #474, 2008, chromogenic color print 90 3/4 x 60 in. (230.51 x 152.4 cm) Š Cindy Sherman Courtesy of the artist and Metro Pictures

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Upon entering the show, the scale of the site-specific murals is quite impressive and cinematic. We begin the exhibition in chronological order to explore Sherman’s early prints and collages in the 1970’s, which are relatively smaller. Then the works grow in size through time. How do you feel the grand scale of the photographs affect the viewer? As curator, how does it affect your decisions in carving out the exhibition space? The scale of Sherman’s work grows over time partly because of changes within the medium of photography that allowed artists to print larger. Photography is still a fairly young medium within fine art, particularly when Sherman started working in the 1970s, and viewing Sherman’s work chronologically allows viewers to see some of the changes that have occurred within it in the past 40 years: from smaller scale to much larger formats, from analogue to digital, and most recently from chromogenic printing to dye sublimation, which is how her most recent body of work from this year is printed directly on aluminum. Certain large-scale works affect the viewer by formally creating a bridge to painting (the history portraits, for example, are printed at a scale that mimics old master paintings). The wallpaper murals are taken from Sherman’s 1980 rear-screen projection series. The series uses the cinematic technique of projecting onto a translucent screen from behind and then posing in front to make it look like the subject is in another environment. In the murals for example, the characters appear to be outside but the photographs were actually taken in the studio.

In 1997, the MOCA Los Angeles exhibited a major retrospective of Cindy Sherman. Would you say "Imitation of Life" is a continuation of this discussion? How has her work evolved since then? Cindy Sherman: Imitation of Life is a survey of Sherman’s work made over the last 40 years, centered on Sherman’s relationship to cinema. This exhibition includes work made as recently as this year, and presents many works that have never before been on view in Los Angeles. It also includes the feature length film that Sherman directed, Office Killer, further solidifying her connection to film.

A couple of my favorite series in this exhibition are the Centerfold series and the Pink Robe series. The idea of format

orientation (horizontal vs. vertical) plays a very important role on "the male gaze" and the female form in art history to current images in magazines. Do you see Cindy Sherman as a feminist? Cindy Sherman’s work dissects identity and representation within the realm of mass media in contemporary culture. By photographing herself (she usually works alone), her chameleon-like personas generate work of utter beauty and disturbance, borrowing the language of media from cinema and television, to advertising, the internet, and old master paintings. Her persistence to focus on the fragmented self for almost forty years is radical and distinct. While many critics and art historians have read Sherman’s work in relation to feminism as well as many other theoretical frameworks, the artist does not subscribe to any one particular reading of her work. Certainly, Sherman’s work dissects how meaning is assigned to images, particularly images of women, in our contemporary world.

Are there any works that will be new to the Los Angeles patrons? There seems to be a heavy influence from film and Hollywood in the selected works; will we be seeing any never before seen cinematic work? The exhibition is framed with works that reference film; it begins with Cindy Sherman’s 1980 rear-screen projection photographs—reimagined as two massive murals—in which Sherman used a cinematic technique, and ends with the new works, inspired by film stars of a century ago. These new works are on view in Los Angeles for the first time after debuting in Sherman’s New York gallery this spring.

In the The Broad app for the show, Humberto Leon, from design duo Kenzo, discusses Sherman’s keen understanding of the role of clothing, beauty, and fashion to create her images. How has Cindy Sherman challenged ideas of beauty and youth? Sherman started creating works for various fashion magazines in the early 1980s, and in these works challenged ideas of beauty by placing the characters in positions that were less-thanaspirational. While fashion photography typically attempts to present our best selves, Sherman, wearing couture clothing, posed with messy hair, bruises, blood, and awkward facial expressions. Sherman questions more than just ideals of beauty though; she uses visual language

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from media and creates works that disrupt assumptions about beauty, status, vanity, and art itself.

Sherman has also done work with Marc Jacobs, Balenciaga, and M.A.C. cosmetics and most recently dressed in popular fashion brands satirizing selfie poses for Harper’s Bazaar’s Project Twirl. Do you think Sherman’s work is holding up a camera or a mirror? In 1981, Sherman was commissioned by the art journal Artforum to create a body of work that has come to be commonly referred to as the centerfolds. Ultimately, Artforum chose not to publish the works in fear that they may be misunderstood. The reason I point this out is because as soon as 1981, Sherman was creating works that challenged audiences, pushing the boundaries of what was expected. Sherman has done many commissions since then, and the resulting work has often been confrontational and challenging. As for your question, I think Sherman’s work uses the camera to mirror particular themes in society, often by means of humor, the grotesque, and artificiality.

The show finishes with some of Sherman’s most recent works created in 2016 completing a range of work in four decades. As guest curator, could you go through your responsibilities and what you wanted to make sure visitors would take away from the exhibition? It has been a huge privilege to work with Cindy Sherman’s artwork in the Broad collection. My curatorial effort has been to turn the Broad collection’s comprehensive holdings of Sherman’s work into a meaningful show, which requires editing, sorting, and generating connections between the series, as well as identifying and securing key loans. This exhibition is on one hand a comprehensive survey of Cindy’s work, on the other hand it puts an emphasis on movie culture and the cinematic. Cindy Sherman is one if not the most influential contemporary living artists, and the exhibition offers the rare opportunity to be amazed by her various incarnations. The interconnectivity of each distinct series allows us to expand our ideas of Cindy's practice and lets us understand how focused and broad the work has moved throughout the years. ‡


CINDY SHERMAN

Top: Untitled Film Still #58, 1980, gelatin silver print, 8 x10in.(20.32 x25.4cm) Bottom: Untitled #70, 1980 chromogenic color print, object:20 x24in.(50.8 x60.96cm) Š Cindy Sherman, Courtesy of the artist and Metro Pictures

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Karen Lee TRAINER

For some men, the idea of a woman with muscles bigger than their own might be emasculating. But the Equinox Master Instructorâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s lifetime love of fitness and passion for physique training have only empowered her to be even more of the Wonder Woman she already is. Photography and Interview by Dustin Mansyur | Styling by Marc Sifuentes Art Direction by Louis Liu | Hair and Makeup by MakeupByDiego

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FITNESS

Karen Lee is centered. One can feel this

immediately when standing within her presence. As with any athlete that has conditioned their mind and body through years of training, Karen’s calm collection is anything but docile. There is a hyperawareness and intuition that is in operation, gears turning in full motion. Perhaps it is this quality that allows her to tap so readily into those she works with and trains. A gifted motivator, Karen has the ability to help her clients reach within themselves, find their grit, and use it as motivation to reach their personal fitness goals. In short, she understands her clients’ pain. “We are programmed to protect ourselves from physical pain, and working out hurts.” She says, however, that “it comes down to mindset.” Fully knowing the challenge an early morning workout can pose while juggling a full schedule, the bodybuilder herself has been pursuing her love of physique training, while balancing her responsibilities as a single mom with her personal fitness-training career as one of Equinox’s Master Instructors. Here Iris had a chance to catch up with the demi-goddess while on set for her photoshoot at Equinox River Oaks.

When did you decide to become a bodybuilder, and what inspired you? I started competing in 2013 as a way to challenge myself. I had been working out my entire adult life and I was starting to feel like I was just going through the motions in the gym. So one of my friends suggested that I should prep for a show, so I did. And suddenly I had purpose and passion in the gym again. It sparked my competitive spirit and I have been addicted ever since.

Was there anything in particular that attracted you to it? Because of my background as a gymnast, I have a tendency towards perfectionism. The tough thing about physique sports is that there is no such thing as perfect and there is always something that can be improved. So I have learned to reign my inner perfectionist in a little, so that I can focus more on progress and improvement.

What challenges have you had to overcome in pursuing bodybuilding? Most of the challenge for me comes in balancing my life with my passion. I have to take care of my priorities first; my daughter, my job, my health. I will never allow any of my priorities to suffer for my desire to improve my physique. That means late nights of preparing my food and early mornings at work to allow time

for workouts, but my goal is to keep the rest of my life and my daughter’s life as normal as possible.

What feelings or emotions do you experience while training? It is a complete spectrum. One day you walk into the gym feeling like, “I am on fire and I’m gonna kill this workout and then go home and be a great mom and take care of business!” The next day you wake up and think, “I’m not gonna make it, why am I doing this?” But ultimately, what separates good from great is your ability to push through those tough days. I have learned you can’t be spectacular every day, but either way you have to show up and give your 100% effort for that day, whatever that may be.

Can you explain a little about the sport science of bodybuilding? Many people would assume that most bodybuilders and coaches are a bunch of “meatheads”. But in order to stay healthy and get your body to extremely low levels of bodyfat for competition, it takes a very specific, science-based diet and training program. You can’t just starve yourself and do a bunch of cardio, expecting great results. We go through a bulking season where the goal is to build muscle without gaining too much fat. This requires a lot of nutrient dense foods at specific times, and lifting typically heavier weights with not as much cardio. Then, when preparing for a competition, I take about 16 weeks to diet down. This means everything I put in my mouth is measured and calculated and serves a specific purpose: some days are higher in carbs, other days are higher in fats. It also means an increase in cardio and higher intensity weight lifting sessions. There are a lot of wrong ways to do it, but there is no one right way to do it; each competitor has to find what is right for their body.

Have you experienced any stigmatization because of how your body changed since you began training? From either men or women? Definitely, from both men and women. Some of the comments are positive, but also a lot of negative. I just don’t think people are ready to accept that a woman can be strong and feminine at the same time. It used to really bother me at first, but now I try to take the comments in stride, even the negative ones.

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Additionally, I find that people see me a s very one dimensional because of the way I look. I spend a lot of time in the gym, but I am not just a “meathead”. I have a college degree, a successful career, a happy healthy daughter, I foster rescue dogs, attend church, travel, read, etc. Lifting is just something I am passionate about. It is a part of me, but it is not who I am. I don’t think their intention is ever to insult. I think they don’t know what to say when they see something out of the norm like a girl with big muscles. It used to really bother me but I’ve taught myself over time to take it as a compliment because they don’t know how to say, “Wow you look like you work really hard,” or “I can see your dedication.”

Do you think women need to push back on body image standards that have been imposed by fashion and commercial advertising? As a society we are shown images of women who crash diet, don’t exercise, don’t sleep. And then the alternative to that is plus size women who “love their curves” but have unhealthy body fat percentages. I don’t know that either one is really healthy. I wish there was as much marketing for health as there is for beauty. I really think that everyone has to look at their own body and embrace who they are. My body is more muscular so I’ve embraced it. I think the push needs to be toward more healthy bodies. Healthy bodies are beautiful. Just as it’s not healthy to be 30 pounds overweight; it’s also not healthy to be 30 pounds underweight.

Do you see bodybuilding as an opportunity to change the way we see beauty? I realize this lifestyle and this physique is not for everyone. I think a strong woman with muscle should be included on the spectrum of beautiful women.

What advice would you give to other women who would like to start training to become a bodybuilder? Identify your reason for wanting to compete. We all have different reasons why we are driven to push our bodies to the extreme, but I think you have to have a firm grip on what that reason is. When things get tough, you can always remind yourself why you do it.

What classes do you teach at Equinox? I am a full time tier 3+ trainer and Master


IRIS COVET BOOK

I’ve also been making it a practice to remain present, for example I limit my phone usage while I’m with my daughter so I can focus just on her. Even if I’m doing something not so fun like working, trying to be present by not thinking about what I’d rather be doing, but focusing on the task at hand. It’s more fulfilling because I am engaged in the moment and not thinking about what I have to get done later.

Instructor at Equinox. I focus all my energy into training my clients one on one and then training other trainers.

Do you have any easy workout routines that you utilize on a daily basis and might advise others to try? With my clients, I like to start with the basics and work up from there. I always start with some easy mobility work, like stretching and foam-rolling. Then after about a 10-minute warm up we start in with the strength work. I typically like to incorporate several different movement patterns, depending on the client and their needs. A hip hinge, a pushing movement, (like a push up) a pulling movement (like a row) a squat of some sort, a loaded carry (like a farmers walk) and a twisting movement (like a wood chop). I think people try to get too advanced too quickly. My best advice is to get really good at the basics, and then progress slowly and systematically.

Do you think visualization practices help attain physical results in training? Visualization and mindfulness is a must! Don’t get me wrong, I lift very heavy weights one or two days a week, and on those days it’s just about moving the weight. But on the rest of my training days it is mostly with lighter weights moving slowly and really squeezing the muscles. That’s where the mind/muscle connection really comes in. I visualize each muscle fiber contracting one after another like dominoes falling until the entire muscle is squeezed tight.

What advice would you give to anyone who’s wanting to reach specific goals in health and fitness? I think clearly identifying your goals is the first is super important to make sure you know the “why” behind the “what”. Why do you want to lose weight? Why do you want to get more muscles? . It’s never just because I want to look good in my clothes, there’s a deeper reason and that reason is what’s going to get you up at 5 in the morning to do your workout. Looking good in your clothes is not going to get you up at 5 am. Wanting to keep up with your kids or wanting to become healthier are reasons that will motivate you, because working out is very counter intuitive right? It’s painful, it’s not just you! We like the result, we like the feeling that comes from it, but the actual workout is not always rewarding, initially. That’s why you have to know what that deeper motivation is and have a firm grip on it.

Is working out, in a way, its own form of meditation for you?

So in order to be successful you need to make a gradual lifestyle change that begins to include working out as a part of the normal routine? For sure! Even if it’s not working out, whatever behavior it is that you want to change, you don’t ever set up a goal and say, “Okay, I’m going to go to the gym for the next 365 days.” That’s not manageable and unrealistic! I think people try to bite off way more than they can chew and often we see these things in fitness magazines that are “30-day challenges”. First of all that is an overwhelming idea to get fit it in 30 days. Secondly, what happens on day 31? The new habits start to break down because they’re not the person doesn’t own that goal they just rented it for 30 days. Maybe for those 30 days they were so dedicated and had so much willpower. Maybe they even accomplished the challenge. But how do you maintain that over the long term? What I find that works a lot better among people is to begin training slowly and in stride with their bodies, even if it doesn’t seem like much at the time, they’re more likely to be successful in forming the new behavior. It starts with baby steps; it’s always baby steps. It’s never giant leaps.

Before, I used to let my mind wander during my workouts, and they were not as productive. There is definitely a mind muscle connection, so you can’t just zone out and mindlessly sit on a machine. You can, but your body won’t change at all. So in order to really see change and make the most out of your workout then you definitely have to be present in what you’re doing. There’s a lot of risk involved. There’s potential injury, so if you’re not paying attention to what you’re doing and zone out, you can get hurt.

What makes you feel beautiful? It took me a long time to accept this, but I feel most beautiful with a clean face, clean body right before I go to bed. I know my body is healthy from the inside out and that makes me feel beautiful.

What makes you feel powerful? There is nothing like the feeling of hitting a personal record! You set a goal, design a program, and then after systematically executing the program, you are lifting weight you never thought possible. It makes you feel like you can literally accomplish anything!

What makes you feel confident? Preparation. When I take the time to be prepared, I feel like I can take on the world. So I take Sundays to prep meals, do laundry, write my clients workouts etc. Then Monday morning hits and I feel like a time management machine and I can take on anything that comes my way! ‡

Do you have any rituals that you practice that keep you centered and grounded? I go to church with my daughter. That always keeps my priorities in check and reminds me that being a good person and looking good are two different things. I have to remember that my inside needs as much attention as my outside.

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For more information contact Equinox River Oaks, River Oaks District, 4444 Westheimer Rd, Houston, TX 77027 281-936-0963 | equinox.com


KAREN LEE

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Image courtesy of Studio Communications

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Le Colonial VIETNAMESE VANGUARD

Le Colonial has been a longtime fixture in the realm of international cuisine. New York, Chicago, and San Francisco are all privileged hosts of Le Colonial. Now after an exciting launch, the elevated Vietnamese house of haute cuisine is opening its newest post in Houston, Texas.

Le Colonial, after opening merely a few weeks

prior to our interview, has already proven to be a destination lure for people looking to enjoy the elevated Vietnamese food of Nicole Routhier. This afternoon, Nicole has welcomed us into the restaurant and has taught us about the origins of the eatery, how she became a partner and culinary director, and what were her own origins as a chef and an authority of Vietnamese food. From growing up in Laos, being discovered by New Yorkâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s premiere food critic, to bringing Vietnamese food to the masses â&#x20AC;&#x201C;Nicole Routhier is truly a star of international fare.

When did you first know you wanted to become a chef ?

Portraits by Jake Toler | Art Direction by Louis Liu Hair, Makeup and Grooming by MakeupByDiego Interview by Marc Sifuentes

There was never one moment that I

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DINING

Le Colonial's partner and culinary director Nicole Routhier.

thought I would become a chef, it was more of something that I inherited. Ever since I was a little girl I have loved food and being in the kitchen with my mom. As a kid and as a teenager growing up, my mother who was a single mother, owned a restaurant back in Laos. I just knew that I loved food and I always hung around the kitchen and asked chefs questions. I didn’t know it was something I wanted to do until much later in my early twenties, after my studies when I went to New York.

What was it you were doing in New York? At the time I was working in the travel industry because I loved language, but I

always felt that something was missing. I knew I wanted to be cooking. I put some money aside and I went to the Culinary Institute of America. After school I worked at Sarabeth's. While I was working, there was an article written by Craig Claiborne who was the food critic of the New York Times. I knew that he loved Vietnamese food, and after he went to Vietnam to try it on its native soil he wrote that since that experience he was unable to find great Vietnamese food in the US. I read that article and I just wished that I could cook him a great meal, so I basically wrote him a fan letter. About two days later he would call me and ask "when can I have that meal?" His kitchen

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was like a lab. There was everything you could need. That’s where all the great chefs had come before they were stars, they had all come through his kitchen for interviews and so forth. Little did I know that it was also an audition that I was doing. (laughs). Instead of just writing a little article, he wanted to do a spread of the dishes, almost like a banquet. Somehow I managed to produce all of the dishes, but the single dish he really judged was the famous nem rán hà nội, the Vietnamese spring rolls, because those are very hard to do well. I thought he would have a little gathering to enjoy all of that food, but it was just him. He was sitting at his table with a little typewriter. He didn’t


What about when you developed the menu for the first restaurant and how has that changed over time to this one? It hasn’t really changed. Again, it is more traditional and we have classic dishes that never change. That’s the great thing about it because you can take it and use it over time like classic French cuisine. Over the years the dishes ended up being watered down and when I came back to Chicago a lot of the dishes bared no resemblance to what I had taught them. The owners asked me to come back and bring it back to the way it was done initially and that is what we are trying to do here. My role here is to eventually move them beyond those classical dishes that they know, so that’s when I will start bringing my own creations. Eventually we will modernize it, we are already way beyond what the people are doing in New York and Chicago and LA.

speak much, it was very intimidating.

He was observing you. Yes, he was observing me and registering the recipes. Then when the food was done, I asked who was going to eat all of this food? So he called over his neighbors and one was Jacques Pépin and another was an Italian contessa. Soon they were tasting and telling me it was fabulous; he asked me a few questions about my background and so forth. Then it was over.

Did the New York Times feature ever come out? What was the reaction it received? Just a few days before graduating! It was at the front page of the living section and it was an entire spread. Basically, he made me the authority on Vietnamese cuisine. His verdict was that the spring rolls were as good, if not better, than the ones he had in Vietnam and that press, to me, you cannot buy. The minute that article came out, people were tracking me down at the school and publishers and book agents were calling me up telling me to write a Vietnamese cookbook, but I was a young student putting myself through school and I said no. I spent a lot of money and I needed to find a job! In the back of my mind I thought that we needed a great cookbook on Vietnamese cuisine, and twenty-five years ago there was nothing like it on the market. Even just for myself it would be helpful because the only way I knew how to cook was from my mother. I

knew what the dishes should taste like but there were no recipes. So I spent around two and a half years recreating these dishes from taste memory.

Did you find it hard to create recipes just from taste memory? Did the ones you came up with differ from the recipes you were taught? Vietnamese cuisine is a very old tradition, and it changes very little. It has been under so many influences, China for instance for over a thousand years and then over to France for almost one hundred years. Of course over that time they had a lot of influences from Chinese cooking, but yet the Vietnamese have really kept on to their own traditions. For such a tiny nation it is quite a feat to emerge from all of that colonialism and still hold up to your tradition. That is what I wanted to focus on with that first cookbook. We can be true to our traditions and show people that our food can be really great. I am a strict traditionalist, but I am also for modernization because you can have the best of both worlds! This is what we wanted to do with Le Colonial. It is based on the time of French cohabitation with the Vietnamese, you know I am a result of that, my mother was Vietnamese and my dad was French, so there was a lot of french elements in the design and architecture and the service, but the food is Vietnamese.

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Do you think that for the people that are coming to the restaurant, it is also an education process for people to understand what it means to taste an authentic Vietnamese dish? I think that here in Houston, people are very knowledgeable about Vietnamese cuisine because we have a very large Vietnamese community. We have our Chinatown, it’s huge and they have tons of great Vietnamese restaurants so people are very knowledgeable about Vietnamese food. In a way it is a challenge for us because yes we are new in town, but the food we are serving is just as authentic, and what we are trying to do is elevate it. You know people are used to those mom and pop shops where you can get a lot of food for very little money. Those Asian cuisines are so labor intensive because they are so old and you cannot change the preparation. So if anything, it should be just as expensive as any French or American eatery.

I've heard that you have to be in the mold to break the mold, so you really have to understand the structures of things in order to break free of them, do you feel like it is your job to teach how to improvise? Yes, to improvise and go beyond what they know. Yes, this is my task, and it is a challenge but they are learning and it is all quite new. We have only been open for a week, and training for a month. It takes time, but that's why I say it is so important to have Vietnamese people in the kitchen, because they understand the cooking and the food.

This Page: Image courtesy of Studio Communications

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LE COLONIAL

If your mother saw what you were doing now and how you were experimenting with the dishes now, do you think that she would be happy? Oh yes, I think that she would be very proud. I think she was the reason I became a chef. After all of these years I still miss her, but you know what was surprising is she never wanted me to become a chef. She was against it. She knew how hard it was, she said, “I will support you to do whatever you want, but not a chef because it is not a life.”

I think anyone who tries to go into a creative field, their parents try to distract them because they want them to have a more secure, and stable career. You know it was hard because I tried to be obedient, but I was never happy in my other jobs. So after she passed I said, “Ok, now I am free to follow my path”, but I know she would have been very proud.

You can tell she really inspired you, and she is still leaving her legacy with what you are creating here at Le Colonial and the lessons

you are passing down to novice chefs. That’s true and that’s why I wrote the cookbook because I wanted to dedicate it to her. She showed me so much that I did not know. She was amazing, she had no training and was self-taught. She was so talented. She would go out, and when she tasted something she liked, she would go home and recreate it and make it even better. I think that is what I inherited.

Are there any other cuisines that you are inspired by? Oh I love Thai, Mexican, anything that is really intensely flavored---Indian cuisine, but you know I am open and very adventurous. I will try anything and everything at least once.

and this is a very simple island with very fancy restaurants, but the best foods are on the street. Street cars and the markets, just fabulous foods! I found so much inspiration. I am always open, I never stop learning.

What is the best advice you could give an aspiring chef ? Follow your instinct. If something inside of you tells you that this is what you love, follow that. Regardless of obstacles, the love will be so intense that you have to follow it and everything will fall into place. If you follow your passion you cannot go wrong. ‡

Are there any places that you travel for food? Oh yes, even during my leisure travels. When you’re a chef you never stop being a chef, and you can always find inspiration in the least likely places. For example, this February I was in Ko Samui just vacationing with my sister in Thailand,

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Pictured above, Le Colonial's partner and culinary director Nicole Routhier and co-owner Joe King. For reservation or information about Le Colonial, call 713-629-4444 or visit lecolonialhouston.com 4444 Westheimer Rd G-140, Houston, TX 77027


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TRAVEL

Palazzo Dama ROME, ITALY

Since Romulus and his twin brother, Remus, founded Rome in April 21, 753 B.C., the Eternal City has been a center of art, beauty, culture, religion, and life. There is no better way to enjoy the bounty that Rome has to offer than in the illustrious Palazzo Dama.

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R

ome is the home of legends, religions, and a storied, war-torn, and majestic past. Palazzo Dama wishes to share its own regal history with the glory of the ancient city, and by doing so has become a beautiful destination hotel for the discerning, elite clientele of the world. Experience Rome as one of the oldest families of nobility, the Malaspina family, did for over a century. The Palazzo Dama is situated near the banks of the Tiber River, and has been host to countless aristocrats, diplomats, and other prominent social and political figures for generations---it is alway a pleasure to stay in Rome feeling like a noble. Named in honor of the dignified elegance of an aristocratic woman, or dama in Italian, this estate offers beautifully decorated rooms, sweeping views of the surrounding area, and a majestic, full-service villa. The hotel was constructed mere steps from the Piazza del Popolo, where guests have the freedom to pick from numerous events and destinations in the capital city. Designed by the famed architect Antonio Girardi, thirty sun-drenched rooms and suites make up the luxurious and historic vacationing experience. The garden of Palazzo Dama is filled with native lemon and olive trees which fill the air with scents of the Italian country. Located in the garden is a beautiful, pristine pool elegantly carved out from the earth. Guests can be seen lounging around the area and taking a swim in the waters as the naiads of myth did. On the

rooftop, a private terrace provides stunning views from the Tiber to the Vatican and on across the glorious cityscape of Rome’s terracotta rooftops and ruins. The hotel itself was made to feel like a luxurious private home, as if you were arriving at your own villa. Original marble mosaics bedeck the entrance, alongside stunningly detailed Art Nouveau doors which open to the lobby, hall, and lounges. The ceilings of the communal areas of the hotel are spotted with crystal chandeliers sourced from New York’s iconic Plaza Hotel, along with vintage Venini glass fixtures. A gracefully carved grand wooden staircase sits stately at the center of the palazzo, and is lit by turn-of-the-century beveled glass mirrors reflecting the natural lighting of the space.The furniture, handcrafted by artisans and designed by the hotel’s architect, was carefully selected to enhance the already palatial hotel. Once you have arrived to your suite in the Eternal City, enjoy a meal at the L’Autre Dame which offers gourmet, fresh, health-conscious dishes and a menu of international and local fare, with a kitchen open to guests twenty-four hours a day. The cocktail bar, situated in a beautiful deep blue alcove, is a great go-to evening spot, but the subterranean nightclub located below will be the perfect end to your day in Rome. Dance the night away and enjoy the hotel’s signature cocktails during your Italian vacation. In the

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morning, spend the day exploring the city with customizable tours, or perhaps spend the afternoon pampering yourself with exclusive beauty and wellness treatments in the comfort of your own suite. The suites have been designed to create an atmosphere of comfort, with vintage artistic objects from international collections, coffee table books filled with art, photography, and culture, and a collection of iconic photographs by world-renowned photographers. The high ceilings of each suite highlight the airiness of the rooms which have been painted in a rich but soothing palette of dark blues and aquatic greens that echo the design elements of the hotel, along with the surrounding Tiber River. To complete the sensorial and visual experience, Diptyque candles and beauty products fill each room with botanical scents in order to transport each guest to bliss. The Palazzo Dama offers a unique opportunity to exist as a member of nobility once again, and is one of the premiere hospitality destinations for Italian luxury travel. Come to the ancient city and luxuriate in the paradise of Palazzo Dama as if you were a Roman empress of old. ‡

For more information and booking, visit palazzodama.com or call +39 06 8956 5272 Lungotevere Arnaldo da Brescia, 2, 00196 Roma, Italy


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Brookshire Residence ARISTOCRACY AND ARTISTRY

The Brookshire Home is a testament to the beauty of classical architecture, but also serves as a vessel of time travel from the past to the thoroughly modern present. Larry Brookshire has turned this early 20th century mansion into a bridge between antiquity and modernity. Photography by Greg Swales | Art Direction by Louis Liu Introduction by Benjamin Price | Words by Larry Brookshire

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HOME

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When I started, I did what I knew how to do. I hired the very best people and challenged and encouraged them to do their very best work. We sometimes did things over and over again until the team agreed that this was the best work we could do with a particular issue. I joked with the team that this is the project that would make them famous. We would joke, but at the same time we were serious that our overarching goal was to make this one of the most elegant homes in Houston. That became our standard for which everything was built upon. We had five stated goals for the project:

W

hile exploring the private residence of Larry Brookshire, it’s clear to see the inspiration of classical French salons and English gardens, and the innovation of modern art. The Brookshire Home unites old-world architecture with cutting edge contemporary art in a uniquely brilliant way. Originally designed by John F. Staub in 1933, Larry Brookshire, Bruce Budd, and their large team of designers and workers have taken on the challenge of honoring the beautiful, historic mansion while bringing it into the modern era. The palatial monument to Texas aristocracy sits in a picturesque scene of trees and lush grass, reminiscent of the plantation homes of old. John F. Staub was a transplant with a master's degree in architecture from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 1916. However, by the 1920’s Staub was building some of the most iconic residential and commercial buildings throughout the Houston metropolitan area. Working from the remains of a legend like Staub’s idea, the team had their work cut out for them. The homeowner, Larry Brookshire, shares with us how the project began and how it has persisted as a crown jewel of architecture and design:

Fusion Modern art is mixed with 19th century antiques throughout the house. We have very chic contemporary art objects mixed with old world craftsmanship to create an interesting blend of the old and the new. The only statue by Georgia O’Keeffe sits in the sprawling lawns, Anish Kapoor’s iconic mirrored sculptures are both outside and inside to produce continuity and a theme of modernity. However, to bring in the old world we also have elements such as the antique-washed walls that were flown in from France, decorated with stunningly detailed molding. The house is all about decade fusion. Integration We added numerous doors and windows to open up the spaces to the beautiful landscaping which the house is surrounded by. There are several rooms that now have light from all angles which feels almost like you're outside. The designer, Bruce Budd, chose soft colors that would accentuate the sea of grass and natural foresting on the property. We created outdoor rooms with the hedgewalls that serve as a seamless link between interior and exterior. Staub tradition It was very important for us to uphold the traditional, classic architecture of the home. We maintained the original facade by the great architect and replicated the original limestone border in the roofline of the Great Room. We did not tamper with the original plaster walls or the original wiring. We kept the original Staub design with the back of the house facing the street and the front door where you would normally find

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the back door. Staub had a great sense of proportion, so changing the room size was not necessary. Basically, the timeless architecture stayed the same as it's original design. Axis Staub believed in building with strong axis lines. You can stand in the original foyer and can envision a straight line all the way through the house and allée and terminating at the Great room which is at a 90 degree angle. The same strong lines can be seen on the second floor where you can see all the way through the entire length of the house and beyond. The first floor North-South axis terminates in the imposing Georgia O'Keeffe sculpture Abstraction. Element of Discovery When you first pass the entrance gate, you see totally natural parkland untouched by man. The trees form a natural canopy and the front lawn is almost always totally shaded. We wanted to keep that zone entirely natural and capitalize on the beauty which grew organically. As you turn to enter the motor court, the Profiles sculpture peeking out above the Japanese yew is another shocking juxtaposition between modernity and antiquity, nature and man-made craft. Then you see the hedge-walls and topiaries and realize that the back exterior is fully created by man. As you walk down the allée and look through a parting of the hedge-walls, The Spire, by Anish Kapoor, surprises the viewer and seems incongruous with the foliage - a very contemporary statement residing in old world surroundings that catches one by surprise. Just around the corner in its own garden surrounded by terraced hedge walls is the ten feet high Georgia O'Keefe sculpture Abstraction. Sanctuary Our ultimate goal with this project was to create a sanctuary, a resting place where no matter how old or feeble I became this would be a place of comfort to me. A place where I could be surrounded with friends and family in a quiet, serene setting yet close to all the amenities of Houston – an oasis amid the frenetic pace of Houston. ‡


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Garrett Hunter ROOM WITH A VIEW

Houston-based interior designer, Garrett Hunter, has made a name for himself in the design world with a unique blend of traditional and eccentric. From white fur chairs to multicolored art pieces all mixed with more familiar accents of leather and wood, the environments which Hunter creates are exercises in artistic curation, yet they remain familiar and comfortable. Photography by Jake Toler | Art Direction by Louis Liu Introduction by Benjamin Price | Words by Garrett Hunter

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We have found ourselves in Garrett Hunterâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s River Oaks home, surrounded by white walls which act as a blank canvas for the pops of color and texture from the artwork and furniture which seem to play off one another and fill the space with energy. Light pours from the wall of windows, further illuminating the warm tones of marigold and pink streaking throughout the home. It is clear that Hunter has a very specific and unique point of view once you walk inâ&#x20AC;&#x201C;he has mixed an a tiquated trunk, modern art pieces from famous furniture dealers and designers, as well as a hefty dose of pattern and color which he is known for. Here,


DESIGNER PROFILE

straight from the interior designer himself, we are told about his beautiful home, its inspirations, and his personal design aesthetic.

Beautiful design exists in all kinds of compositions, from the exuberance of ‘le goût Rothschild’ to the spatial voids of John Pawson. Often, what distinguishes a great interior designer is not just the ability to assemble together great objects. Rather, it is the context of those objects and the way they are juxtaposed to create a kind of synthesized bliss that makes for a truly great environment. Historically, the most memorable interiors are either hyper-designed

to the extreme, or confidently simple and tightly edited. I follow this as my own modus operandi – my work tends to reflect these two philosophies, avoiding everything in the middle; I have absolutely zero interest in ever having a “look” from one project to another. For the home Jaime Loera and I share in a high rise on the edge of Houston’s River Oaks neighborhood, I lean towards an aesthetic that is curatorial and edited, yet exudes a casual tone. The space is composed of a series of pristine light-filled volumes; devoid of extraneous detail with instead an atten-

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tion to materiality. There are only a handful of elements contributing to the palette: concrete sheathed in white yacht paint, Calacatta marble, black glass and a span of wall-towall windows stretching the full length of the south elevation. The rest is comprised of big walls to showcase art. Within such a simple envelope, every piece inserted into the mix commands attention. The cohesion or friction caused from introducing these disparate elements into the space is magnified, and color comes into the equation in the form of the view, the artwork, and the people inside the space. I chose to complement the modernist architecture of the


IRIS COVET BOOK

Top Left, a concrete Easter island head model was a gift from my family sitting on top of a cor-ten steel table. Top Right, a Maison Jansen sofa from Tienda X and a vintage French settee in velvet. On the settee is an antique Japanese quilt from Carol Piper textiles. Artwork on the back wall by Aaron Young. Bottom Left, a woodend sculpture of a Polynesian warrior sits atop antique Abercombie & Fitch luggage. Bottom Right, Dining table by James Brummett, the chairs are Viennese modernist, and the benches are 19th C Chinese - all from Tienda X. On the top of the table are Ming dynasty vessels, the gilded console is Peruvian, and painting by San Francisco artist Johanna Jackson from New Image Art in Los Angeles.

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iconic building, but also challenge the clean lines with exotica and a sense of humor. When one first enters, they are in a foyer-cum-gallery, with black glass sheets laid as flooring, and works on display by Dash Snow, Jules Buck Jones, and Kent Dorn. A piece by John Waters commands the far end of the gallery, pivoting 360 degrees to reveal alternately the numbers ‘7734’ or the word “HELL”. The other end leads into the living room, where a massive eleven foot wide by nine foot tall work on paper by the New York based artist Aaron Young covers the west wall. It speaks to the mix of furnishings in the space, from a leather and steel Maison Jansen sofa from the 1970’s, to a pair of large resin Faye Toogood Roly Poly chairs adjacent to a pair of original Pierre Jeanneret wooden chairs. A Jean Prouvé Potence lamp hovers over the sofa from the east wall, against the wall of glass looking out over the skyline. The dining room has a large table made of steel and massive oak planks by James Brummett, and was featured in an exhibition I curated in 2015 called Texas Design Now at the

Contemporary Arts Museum Houston. There are antique Chinese benches flanking each side, capped off at each end of the table by two unnamed Viennese modernist chairs of plywood and old, green leather. A large-scale work by San Francisco artist Johanna Jackson in pale blue, lavender, and bubblegum pink looks out over the room, and is from my friend Marsea Goldberg’s Los Angeles-based New Image Art gallery. The media room doubles as a guest bedroom, with walls covered salon-style by smaller scale artwork, including pieces by Shane Tolbert, Kelli Vance, Brad Elterman, Jordan Sullivan and a self portrait painting by Jaime. A big, comfy daybed with giant cushions in Larsen wool and a pair of red suede Pierre Paulin chairs are essentially the only furnishings in the room. This room takes on the most intimate feeling of the entire home. I tend to like a moment of compression in the middle of bright, open spaces. The master bedroom is the sparest room of all, consisting of a bed and a Gio Ponti chair, along with a pair of 1970’s Pace Collection side tables. The bed itself is quite monastic,

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a platform with no headboard and peachcolored Italian bedding. Centered above is a large antique Indonesian textile housed in a Lucite box. The majority of color in the room comes from a large metal artwork by my mother, photographer Rhonda Hunter. It is a digitally manipulated image of fungi in a forest with intense zaps of red, yellow, and jade. I must confess, the space is always in a constant state of flux. Around the same time I moved in, architect Michael Landrum and I decided to open a design gallery, called Tienda X. Michael and I frequently collaborate; his aesthetic varies as much as my own, so the gallery is somewhat of a laboratory meets cabinet of curiosities. With a constant rotation of an inventory made up of art, objects, and important design pieces, it allows me to ultimately extend that experimentation into my own home. With that in mind, who knows what it will look like next month? ‡

For more information visit garretthunter.com or email info@garretthunter.com


Announcing the New CASADESUS Showroom at RAIL 71 Miami OPENING JUNE 2016

5046 Biscayne Boulevard, Miami FL 33137 Ph. 305 576 0620 | info@arravanti.com


Announcing the New CASADESUS Showroom at RAIL 71 Miami OPENING JUNE 2016

5046 Biscayne Boulevard, Miami FL 33137 Ph. 305 576 0620 | info@arravanti.com


IRIS COVET BOOK

Iris Insider MS. GAIL RUBIN

She is a messenger for brands around the nation, connecting companies to their customers in new and inventive ways. Educated in New York City at the Fashion Institute of Technology, tutored by the Americana fashion heavyweight Ralph Lauren, and now back to her roots in Texas by way of Tokyo, the public relations guru is here to share her secrets. Gail Rubin of STUDIO Communications, has given Iris her Insider view of the best places to head to in Houston–from furniture to books, jewelry, and where to find a good lychee martini. Read carefully and start planning and mapping out your course to fabulous finds by Gail Rubin. Portrait illuatration by artist Kei Meguro for more of her work visit: keimeguro.com | instagram @keimeguro Original Image by photographer Jake Toler

BRAZOS BOOKS I mean, it’s a specialty bookstore. What more do I need to say? Last year I found a hardback copy of Slouching Towards Bethlehem by Joan Didion there, which is impossible to find. And it’s not just the rare and fantastic mix of books that make this place great – they host intimate readings with authors that draw an interesting mix of people and bring attention to great reads I might not have discovered otherwise. For more information visit: brazosbookstore.com or call 713-523-0701 2421 Bissonnet st., Houston, TX, 77005

LE COLONIAL I was so fired up to learn they were opening a new post in Houston. Their New York location on 57th street is a few blocks from my family’s apartment and I’ve been going there for as far back as I can remember. The upstairs lounge (in both cities) has a great vibe - and their shrimp spring rolls with a Lychee martini is the perfect pairing on a summer night. For more information visit: lecolonialhouston.com or call 713-629-4444 4444 Westheimer rd., Houston, TX 77027

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IRIS INSIDER

CANARD This is a new bar connected to that restaurant, Foreign Correspondents. The décor for sure took inspiration from the set of Three’s Company, but it’s dark and a bit moody with these fabulous booths and it feels like a place to discover. A great spot for after work. For more information visit: treadsack.com/canard/ or call 713-864-8424 4721 North main st., Houston, TX 77009

THE WEBSTER This is an exciting addition to our retail scene with a highly curated mix of ready-to-wear and accessories. The owners’ point of view to designer collections is ballsy in a time where brick and mortar space is tricky to gauge. I have a great deal of respect for that. She also gives the floor to new designers we wouldn’t otherwise have access to. For more information visit: thewebster.us or call 713-840-1477 5045 Westheimer rd, Houston, TX 77056

REEVES ANTIQUES This is such a Montrose gem. They sell design objects from the seventeenth century to the twenty-first century. The owner, Matt, has a great eye for mid-century modern furniture, lighting and art with a preference for unique and rare pieces. They’re also great for refurbishing and reupholstering. For more information visit: reevesantiqueshouston.com or call 713-523-5577 2415 Taft st., Montrose, TX

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Last Look

WALK THROUGH WALLS BY MARINA ABRAMOVIĆ Similar to the art that she creates, different opinions abound regarding Marina Abramović. She has been called an enigma, an icon, a sell-out, a genius, a dilettante. Form your own opinion on the controversial artist in Walk Through Walls, a never before seen look into the early life and creation of one of the most recognizable artists of the 20th and 21st centuries. Her origin story informs an incomparable artistic career that involves pushing her body past the limits of fear, pain, exhaustion, and danger in an uncompromising quest for emotional and spiritual transformation. The beating heart of Walk Through Walls is an operatic love story—a twelve-year collaboration with fellow performance artist and provocateur Ulay, much of which was spent penniless in a van traveling across Europe until the relationship began to unravel and came to a dramatic end atop the Great Wall of China.

Marina’s life has been singular, and her voice on the page—its cadence steeped in her Balkan roots—is nothing short of electrifying. You hear her perfectly imperfect English on every page and the result is enchanting. In story after story, Marina plumbs the sublime march to artistic truth, and along the way she evokes not only her own coming of age, but an era of artistic ferment and possibility, the thread of which she has never lost. Her stalwart insistence on facing pain and fear and vulnerability in the starkest possible terms as an artist comes to life in this vivid, candid memoir.

Published by Crown Archetype Released October 25, 2016

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IRIS COVET BOOK SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2016 - GIMME (CARLY) MOORE!