RELAPSE Ian Frisch
Founder, Editor in Chief
Max Louis Miller
Online Photography Editor
Kelsey Paine Abby Kron Alexander Tirpack Gabrielle Lipton Staff Writers
Jessica Lehrman Michael Tessier Cole Barash Patrick Postle Staff Photographers
Creative Vice President
Tyler Mitchell Photography Editor
Nekole Kemelle Daymion Mardel Brian Higbee Ryan Heywood We Are The Rhoads Easton Schirra Kenji Toma Sacha Lecca Fernando Forero Jeff Tse Nicolas Bets Shane McCauley Landry Contributing Photographers
On the Cover
PHOTOGRAPH MICHAEL TESSIER STYLING JOSH ES at FACTORY DOWNTOWN HAIR MARK ANTHONY using JULIEN FAREL HAIR CARE at JUDY CASEY MAKE UP BOBBY BUJISIC using MAC COSMETICS at JUDY CASEY MODEL ADRIANNA BACH at FUSION
Shirt G-STAR RAW Sweater BCBG
PUBLISHED by RELAPSE MEDIA INC in BROOKLYN, NEW YORK PRINTED by BILL DUERR at HATTERAS in NEW YORK, NEW YORK
Contents. 8 12 16 20 24 32 36 42 46 50 54 58 66 72 82 92 100 110 118 126 134 144
That Coat On the Grid Dion Agius In Flight Legends Flushed in Blush Iambic Pentamerous The Monster Under Your Bed Princess Nokia! Just My Sister and Me On Her Own Terms Out There Painting Bowery No Lesson Learned Valis Haven’t You Seen a Spindle Before? I Love You But You Don’t Know What You’re Talking About The Treatment High Brow Don’t Pretend You Didn’t Know Room 68 2:59
Every Year a Butterfly
pring in New York City is a time of renewal and reinvigoration, of evaluation and expansion—a shedding of a year’s worth of skin, worn and weathered, a soft and vibrant glow underneath. A new flicker of blue off the East River, crashing through the windows of the M train. A different path from Bowery to Broadway, past a burgeoning restaurant and freshly painted park bench. And with the shedding of a year’s worth of experiences, memories, trials, tribulations and successes comes something very important: The New Flesh. A gleaming outer shell, delicate and puffy, ready to rub against this enchanting place we live—to, once again, after a long and hideous winter, buzz about this hive that we call home. For this issue of Relapse, I have chosen to expand on the concept of The New Flesh (as coined by art director Max Louis Miller) as a way to investigate not only the young, hungry and up-and-coming, but, in some cases, people who have transformed themselves in the midst of their career in fashion and the arts. Our fashion editorials, too, take a rebellious turn, showcasing a look into the world of the young and defiant—a look, ultimately, into why some people move here in the first place. From Gabrielle Lipton’s feature on the transformation and progression of the Bowery Mural, my profile of newlyestablished independent designer Charles Harbison, and Kelsey Paine’s look into hip-hop upstart Nyemiah Supreme; to Easton Schirra’s party-fueled L.A.based fashion story and Michael Tessier’s unruly, disobedient cover editorial, we wanted to capture one of the most intrinsic of characteristics that engulf the young, ambitious and creative in New York, and, in some ways, that sprout and grow within us after each unforgiving winter. As puddles of slush give way to pavement oozing heat—from overgrown beards and parkas to frayed jeans and cut-off shirts—the slow cracking of the old shell will begin and new flesh will emerge. However unruly or rebellious or nonconformist or just plain different, with a little bit of sun and warmth, it will reveal luscious colors and personalized patterns. Newly-minted wings capable of carrying you from where—and who—you once were to a new place. And I hope it will always be like this, that it will never change: Every year a butterfly. Ian Frisch, Editor in Chief
The Machine The Rhoads
A Los Angeles-based husband-and-wife team, Chris and Sarah Rhoads make their Relapse debut with “Room 68,” a summer-vibed fashion editorial shot at the Pink Motel in Sun Valley, California. Their narrativebased imagery, chock-full of cinematic and spontaneous visuals, has garnered them advertising campaigns for brands such as Coverse, Timex and Motorola, to name a few. They also shoot celebrity portraiture, including Wayne Coyne of the Flaming Lips.
Making his second appearance in Relapse, Sacha Lecca zeroes in on fashion designer Marissa Webb, forcing her to ride her bicylce around her Manhattan-based studio. Currently Deputy Photo Editor at Rolling Stone, Lecca has worked at various magazines since the mid-1990s including Newsweek. But what’s your fun-fact of the day? Lecca’s is that is he a Viscount (one step under a prince) in his homeland Romania and has to wear a special hat every time he flies into the country. Boom!
Using his eye for culture, photographer Shane McCauley traveled to Montauk to document the winter surf community for his first appearance in Relapse. An avid music photographer (most recently working under Diplo and Major Lazer) he has published several books to date, notably “128 Beats Per Minute” (Rizzoli) and the “Blow Your Head” (Picturebox) series which chronicles youth culture and music in different parts of the world. McCauley has traveled to over 50 countries.
Capturing a late-night house party in “No Lesson Learned,” Los Angeles-based photographer Easton Schirra makes his Relapse debut. Originally from Texas, Schirra has since found himself a part of Studio.64, an upstart photography studio in L.A., and has shot celebrities such as Kelly Osbourne and Nicola Formichetti. His work has made appearances in publications such as Interview Magazine and Bullett, and he has recently shot for streetwear designer Brian Lichtenberg.
Photographing the Clavin sisters of the band Bleached for his second appearance in Relapse, Brian Higbee has over ten years experience in graphic design—his gateway into photography. Higbee’s work has been published in publications such as Interview magazine, Vogue Korea, and Russia’s InStyle, just to name a few. He has also been comissioned on the advertising front for the likes of Adidas and Jacob Holston. He divides his time between New York and Los Angeles.
Fernando Forero, a frequent contributor to Relapse, moved to New York City four years ago from his native Columbia, first becoming interested in photography while studying advertising at the Universidad de Bogotá, Jorge Tadeo Lozano. For this issue, he photographed hip-hop upstart Nyemiah Supreme. He has also been published in Elle Mexico, Harper’s Bazaar Latin America, Instyle Latin America and Esquire Latin America.
THAT COAT WORDS IAN FRISCH PHOTOGRAPHS JESSICA LEHRMAN STYLING LAUREN TEMPLE
Charles Harbison, with his beaming smile—that smile—is definitely happy about something. Perhaps it’s that fact that, after a decade in corporate womenswear, the Brooklynite designer is out on his own. Under his own name. And he’s turning heads. 8
t’s the year 2034 and a 17-year-old girl is rummaging through her mother’s closet. She’s in the master suite, which takes over the northwest corner of their 12th-floor, three-bedroom condominium in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, a neighborhood whose long withstanding landscape of two-story warehouses and unassuming brownstones has since been replaced with rows of high-rise residential buildings (an inevitable progression) that thrust towards the sky like a cluster of weeds peering over the East River. She’s going out and needs something to wear. And then she finds her gem: a black, blue and beige color-blocked shantung overcoat with driving, notched lapels and rigid shoulders. She scurries towards the kitchen yelling “Mom! Mom!” and fingers for the tag underneath the collar, stopping in the hall to peer down and read the designer which, must like herself, was conceived right in New York City: Harbison. “I want to make those kinds of clothes,” confided Charles Harbison on an unseasonably warm day this past December, his stack of sugar-white teeth beaming from his square, scruff-laden jaw. “She’s in love with it now, she puts it away, she’s in love with it again in ten years and then her daughter is in love with it,” he explained. Harbison’s Spring/Summer 2014 collection, the second installment of garments under his own name, boasts a wide range of inspiration: his workwoman-prep mother, Aalyiah, the Diaspora and Yves Klein. The collection has garnered him praise from the likes of Vogue and The New York Times, as well as buyers such as Satine and Ikram (with heavy interest from Barneys, Bergdorf Goodman and Saks, as well as a trunk show with Moda Operandi), propelling him to the forefront of the young, hungry, entrepreneurial 20-and-30-somethings coming out of Brooklyn. “When I started Harbison, I knew that I wanted to design from a place of integrity,” he explained. “I wanted to create clothes that would empower women, that could be tools that they could use to aesthetically represent themselves to the world in a more empowered fashion.” Coming to New York as a fresh-faced, drawl-soaked southern boy from small-town North Carolina, Harbison cut his teeth in womenswear at Michael Kors. “Charles’ biggest asset is his personality,” confided Megan Wall, former Womenswear Design Director at Michael Kors. “But his intellectual side draws us into his design sensibility which can be masculine, austere, minimalist and even severe.” From there, he had a stint at the now-defunct Luca Luca, followed by womenswear at Billy Reid, where he got to stretch his legs in a much more youth-oriented fashion house. But after eight years of corporate loyalty, he took a step back. “I got to the point—I turned 30—and I was like, I think I have something relevant to say; I think I have spent a good amount of
time understanding really important things about the industry, so why not give it a try,” he confided. “I wanted to reconfigure the trajectory my life was on and I felt like I [should do it] under the umbrella of Harbison.” To Wall, Harbison’s former boss, it wasn’t all that surprising. “Charles was always a very independent thinker and I always knew that he had his own personal vision and vantage point,” she explained. “He never swayed from his vision and I always respected that.” His initial inspiration for the company came from “Just Kids”, the famed Patti Smith memoir, where gender roles between her and Robert Mapplethorpe were constantly see-sawing. “[They] epitomized so much transsexual beauty insofar as he being more masculine but being the more gentle of the two, and then her being more feminine but being stronger,” he explained. “There’s so much cross-gender appropriation that happens there. I thought that was lovely.” That foundation of versatility and role-appropriation continues to engulf his new collection, despite his new clutch of muses and inspirations. “They navigate the world fully as women and all of the fragility and nurturing nature that is indicative of a woman,” he explained, “but, at the same time, she fully embraces her power and her confidence—perhaps in a masculine way.” But the singularity of Harbison’s forward-thinking approach to design is simple: “It’s just offering more nuance. There are so many different ways to be sexy. There are so many different ways to be alluring. So many different ways to be commanding. The clothes aren’t determining who she is going to be that day.” This deep-seeded necessity for versatility leads into the concept of longevity, something not seen in modern-day blurbs of flash-in-the-pan fads that are hot right now (and, perhaps, only right now). “I don’t do trend-hunting and trend-searching,” Harbison admitted. “I am not so keen on being of-the-moment. Trends just specify your pieces,” he continued, still smiling despite his admittance to being unconventional. “I say to myself, ‘Do I think I would like this in three years?’ If I feel like I will like it in three years, I pretty much have confidence that she may, as well.” The girl enters the kitchen, where her mother is finishing her first glass of Chenin Blanc, the windows of the apartment suckling the last bursts of sun from behind the Manhattan skyline. She has the overcoat on now, its bottom ridge falling just below her knee, the curved, beige block of color cutting to the left of the front pocket. “Can I wear this?” she asks, thrusting her hip out in pose. Her mother takes the last sip of wine, places the glass down, and follows the lines of color on the jacket from wrist to shoulder, collar to button. She smiles. “Yes, you can,” she says. “But be careful. I still love that coat.”
Opening image: Suit, Shirt JOHN VARVATOS Above: Suit Jacket ETRO Shirt JOHN VARVATOS
ON THE GRID WORDS MEGHAN HILLIARD PHOTOGRAPHS NEKOLE KEMELLE STYLING KITA UPDIKE
The exhibiton of soft, colorful plaid in warmer months offsets its dense, tartan-fueled autumn counterpart.
he plaid presented down September’s spring and summer runways was the answer to the previous season’s question: The 90s have not only made a legitimate comeback with its hang-tough attitude, wreaking havoc on both the editorial pages and street scene, but is further proving its longevity by digging in its shitkicking boots through the warmer months. But don’t get this season’s print of choice twisted with that wool shirt you tied around your waist in middle school, or the uniform of the Pacific Northwest during the reign of “Smells Like Teen Spirit”. Proven to be both classic and versatile, the plaids of spring are the softer counterparts to fall’s heavy tartans a lá Stella McCartney and the boxy outerwear trenches we all salivated over at Céline’s Fall/Winter 2013 show. More mute and pastel, in breathable and light fabrics, fashion houses in New York, Paris and Milan prove what was once old is now new again. Mona Kowalska’s A Détacher collection gave subtly a nudge with boxy silhouettes and demonstrative plaids in bright cerulean and indigo, conveying a fresh and polished look amidst large printed separates. “The plaid came from thinking about classic school uniform patterns,” the fashion house said, noting that more of the influence came from an emotion over something tangible. “It’s definitely inspired by both obedience and disobedience.” That ideal—playing it safe with classic cuts while giving them new life with unconventional prints and colors—was also felt by New York designers Jeffrey Costello and Robert Tagliapietra of powerhouse Costello Tagliapietra. “For us, plaids are a way to inject several colors at once into one look,” they explained. “Unlike an all-over print, plaids feel more abstract—more of a minimalistic approach to patterns.” The duo’s SS14 runway was not merely a show, but more like a gallery opening—their take on plaid almost resembling watercolor, unable to tell where their tangerine lines ended, and their ultramarine ones began. Their timeless tuxedo pants, pencil skirts and spring blazers were all punctuated by pops of plaid in both pale and vibrant hues of complementary colors. “Though plaids have their own connotations, we blurred ours to emphasize the color, stripping them of their otherwise lumberjack or rock ‘n’ roll identity and letting them just be about color,” they said. Consistent transformations of classic trends is nothing new— designers often revisit past staples to breathe life into current collections. But there’s a reason why plaid’s resurgence every few decades is so significant: because it’s always familiar and relatable. Just like that old flannel from high school.
Crop Top, Skirt, Button Up COSTELLO TAGLIAPIETRA Jacket SUNO On Clothesline: Skirt A DETACHER Orange Skirt COSTELLO TAGLIAPIETRA
From Left: Strapless Dress TADASHI SHOJI Cover Up VIVIENNE WESTWOOD RED LABEL Bracelet IN GOD WE TRUST Strapless Dress VIVIENNE WESTWOOD RED LABEL Vest WATSON X WATSON Boots DOC MARTENS Necklace IN GOD WE TRUST Top A DETACHER Bottoms NICHOLAS K Necklace HOLST + LEE
ART DIRECTION REBEKKA FELLAH HAIR LIZZIE ARNESON MAKEUP JULIET JANE MODEL DAJANA at IMG
Pro-surfer, photographer and filmmaker Dion Agius melds the worlds of catching swells and making art, sparking a balance of sport and documentation, of board and cameraâ€”someone who, with every crashing wave and new country visited, creates his own opportunities. WORDS ALEXANDER TIRPACK PHOTOGRAPH RYAN HEYWOOD
n the shore of his homeland Australia, pro-surfer Dion Agius rips through a cascading bright blue wave, a white upsidedown cross painted on the back of his wetsuit jacket, which he wears unzipped. Fearless, ferocious and creative, Agius is a highly sought-after surfer by everyone from sponsors like Globe and Neff to a myriad of surf magazines and blogs, but, like an aberration, he appears in one corner of the world for a week or two before he’s off to the next, crushing currents and exploring his entrepreneurial and artistic endeavours. But the ocean is not the only canvas Agius uses to showcase his creativity. Besides the litany of surf accolades slapped under his name, Agius also has a strong interest in photography and film, lending him the label of a celebrated documenter of not only the surfer culture, but also the people and environments that engulf him. The style of his
photography and films might be surprising if you think of Agius as just a paid beach bum with a camera, but his art proves he is anything but. The subjects—sometimes people and animals, other times a simple object like a chair or a city factory—are often overtaken by the landscape that surrounds them. Twisted and gnarled tree branches encroach on a bikini-clad woman standing slightly off center, horizontal and vertical lines of a metal bridge cast shadows on the streets which it connects, highlights of the crisp wakes next to an elderly couple swimming. It’s images like these that have led to Agius being a filmmaker for Globe (who sponsors him), producer of short films for magazines like What Youth and photographer for his own sunglass company Epokhe. The genesis of Agius as both surfer and artist can be traced back to Tasmania, a remote island off the coast of Australia, where, besides surfing, there was often nothing for him to do but fuck around
SELECT PHOTOGRAPHS BY DION AGIUS
with his father’s old camera and heed to the encouragement of his artistic mother. “[My mom] had a studio and a gallery in Tasmania, so every afternoon after school I would spend a lot of time there, and she taught me how to paint and draw,” he said. “I was pretty young, and pretty bad at it. But I was always interested in the creative side.” At the age of 15, Agius moved to Queensland, and he began taking his father’s camera with him to the beach where he and his friends would film each other surfing, and once he learned how to edit and dub sound into videos using VCRs, talent and interest interceded and a filmmaker was born. Needing new subjects to film, he and lifelong friend Kai Neville followed around pro surfers who were in town for competitions, filming them riding waves, then editing and selling the videos to a Japanese distributor for a few grand a pop. Even as a teen, Agius was discovering ways to seize the opportunities within his own world, enjoying his hobbies and exploiting them at the same time. Four years later, Agius had progressed not only as an artist, but also as a surfer, traveling the world and picking up sponsors. It was during a trip to Vietnam where he took his love for photography to a new level, going on a shooting spree in the wild landscape. “It sparked something in me,” he said. “I felt like I was taking photos I was happy with for once, rather than trying to paint a picture and it being shit. With photography, I really liked it because I could capture what I imagined or what I could see as opposed to drawing something and not having it work out.” Now, at 28, Agius finds himself as a rare mixed-breed of pro-surfer, artist and entrepreneur. His skills on the water allow him to travel the world, which in turn allows for more opportunity behind
the lens. In addition to filming for sponsors and surf magazines, he’s launched photography magazines like the short-lived but much adored Proxy Noise, an online ‘zine created to showcase his time spent in New York City, where he lived for six months, the longest stretch of time he’s lived anywhere since he was a kid, and he’s currently working on another print glossy called +/+ (Plus Plus), which will feature photography collections by himself as well as fellow surfer/photographer friends and colleagues. And if that were not enough to keep the enterprising beast at bay, Agius acts as lead designer for his aforementioned sunglass company Epokhe, which is about to launch a new line for Summer 2014. While his films for Globe and other artistic endeavors are regarded as some of the best in the surf world, he does experience anxiety when approaching a new project. Music, however, is his creative guidance. “It’s probably a really shitty way to do it, but when I’m making a film I find the music first and then base the film, or the way I’m going to shoot, around the feeling that that song or artist portrays,” he said. “I find it a lot easier to visualize things when it’s tied to music as opposed to shooting something with no real direction.” Agius is a character carved out of opportunity, resonating within the blurred borders of pro-surfer and artist. But, above all else, Agius is an exuberant and talented wayfarer who uses the lens to display a brand of creativity found only in those rare humans who lust after capturing the vivacious, the beautifully simple, and the imperfect, yet exotic, aesthetic of a world that seems to offer endless possibilities.
he sky swelled up and hung overhead like a fresh black eye— heavy and tender, minutes away from exploding into rainfall. Marissa Webb, unaware of the happenings outside the window, starting riding her bicycle from one end of her studio to the other. Her brown-sugar kneecaps poked through the holes in her jeans. She swung left, around a wooden support beam, yelping as she narrowly missed a metal desk covered in papers and fabric samples. “I tried to get everyone to call me Mark when I was a kid,” confided Webb, who is a self-proclaimed tomboy, growing up playing in the mud, “but I would also go home and dress up and walk around in my mother’s heels.” With her signature mix of hard and soft, steel and silk, Webb is celebrating her third collection under her own name since stepping down as lead womenswear designer at J.Crew, where she worked for the past decade. Her Spring/Summer 2014 collection boasts much more than an attractive color pallette and a versatile, applicable design, but rather an overall reflection of an ambitious designer who’s freshly on her own—out of the nest, flapping her wings, and rising with every downward thrust of her limbs. “It wasn’t necessarily my plan to do my own label,” explained Webb, who studied fashion design at FIT, “but in the back of my head I always thought that that was what you were supposed to do.” Coming out of college, Webb progressed from internships to freelance gigs, finally ending up at the squishy corporate giant J.Crew, a solid spot to be, placing her entrepreneurial aspirations temporarily on the back burner. “But [the desire to start my own label] was never not there, you know?” she said. And the internal clock of a designer, much like the biological gearings of woman looking to have a child, has a timer that inevitably goes off. “After being [at J.Crew] for over a decade, that’s when it [was] like, okay, it’s now or never.” But now, over a year out of the nest, Webb truly has room to stretch her creative wings. And, from the get-go, people noticed. Outlets ranging from Vogue to the Times have given Webb a modest nod, with retail powerhouse Barneys giddily skipping towards the designer with open arms, leaving many other start-ups sobbing in the background (Intermix, Scoop and Harvey Nichols also snagged a piece of the pie). “We knew the collection was right for Barneys from the moment we walked into Marissa’s first presentation at Lincoln Center,” said Tomoko Ugura, Senior Fashion Director at Barneys. “She strikes a great balance between feminine and masculine. That tomboyish flare that you recognize when you meet her is infused in styles that remain playfully feminine,” she continued. “We’re continuously drawn to her version of the silk blouse, whether accompanied by a matching silk tie or leather bow—it’s pretty with a twist.” To Webb, however, immediate acclaim was never part of the plan. “I really did not anticipate the attention that it received so quickly,” she said. “And for Barneys to be
the first people...every day I am shocked and surprised. It’s a validation: You’re going in the right place.” Webb isn’t shy to admit that her persistent and perfectionist mentality—albeit intrinsic and a key to success—can be overwhelming. “I am one of those obsessive-compulsive, 150-percent-or-don’t-bother type of people,” she explained. “People say, ‘If you decided you were going to be a couch potato, you would do it 150 percent.’” However exhausting her approach, her business is on the up-and-up, flourishing not only in the media and on the runway, but also internally. Coming from managing over 50 employees at J.Crew, Webb now oversees a tight-knit team of six—a half-dozen fuzzy, yellow chicks scurrying around Webb’s coop just south of Union Square. “They are all like family,” Webb said bluntly. “It’s a very intimate environment, and I like that. Everyone is here to achieve the same goal. I want people here to feel like this company is not just mine, but ours. And if we succeed, we succeed together. It’s a team sport.” Financially, too, Webb has recently secured an investment from Tom Kartsotis, founder of Fossil Watches, who was impressed with the upward trajectory of the brand after her splash at New York Fashion Week back in September. “I am thoroughly impressed with the passion and dedication that Marissa puts into her brand,” Kartsotis said. “She is involved in all aspects of the collection and is dedicated to ensuring that it clearly showcases her vision, while not sacrificing fit or quality.” But the biggest asset to Webb overseeing her own label is the creative freedom—her ability to put forth a product that is quintessentially her, in all its tomboyish glory. “I just design what I love and what I’m feeling strong about or what I’m missing in my life right now,” Webb said, echoing her long withstanding mentality of designing from within, rather than in relationship to trends. “Even when I look back at my FIT projects, I was designing the same things,” she explained. “I have the freedom to [take risks] and, so, every season, it becomes more and more of not having [any] boundaries.” For example, one of the only designers to incorporate mens neckties into her spring collection, Webb has inadvertently created a signature aesthetic for her audience. “It’s funny because me, personally, I wear ties all the time. I have more ties than my fiancée does,” she said. “And it was the first blouse that I designed—literally the first blouse that I designed. It’s one that has been recognizable as a Marissa Webb style.” Although modestly gliding along, wind under her wings, it wouldn’t be a surprise if Webb swooped down to indulge in a bit of her childhood and splash around in the mud every so often, to make sure—to be absolutely certain—that there’s always a bit of her visible in everything she does: a scrape on her knee, some mud on her jeans, or, perhaps, something as simple as a tie around her neck.
LEGENDS WORDS IAN FRISCH PHOTOGRAPHS DAYMION MARDEL at RAY BROWN FASHION DIRECTOR ISE WHITE HAIR MARCO BRACA at KRAMER+KRAMER MAKE UP MARCO CASTRO at KRAMER+KRAMER
For the majority of the 1970s, 80s and 90s, a select, cream-of-the-crop were adored by Avedon, Penn and Meisel; graced the covers of Vogue, Cosmopolitan and Elle; and led the pack in the fashion industry. These are the women to remember. These are the ones. These are legends.
Kim Williams graced the cover of Vogue Italia in 1990, shot by Steven Meisel, and, this year, got to reunite with the famed photographer for the January issue of the publication. But her breakthrough moment was with another heavy-hitter at the time. “I was in Irving Penn’s studio and, unfortunately, the girl he used all the time broke her arm in an ice skating rink,” she explained. “And I knew they would send me home, or I would shoot all eight shots. And I shot all eight shots. And I knew there was no going back.”
Blouse LIE SANG BONG
Now a successful actress, Tara Westwood made a name for herself on the commercial front, landing advertisements for the likes of Chanel. Of her breakout moment, Westwood recalled a trip much-removed from her roots in the north-country. “The first time I worked with Horowitz. That was just exciting,” she said. “I shot a Garalane campaign in France and it was so grand and beautiful. And we shot in a castle and we flew in a helicopter and it was all just so outside of growing up in Winnipeg, Canada. I said to myself, ‘I am not in Canada anymore.’”
Top HUGO BOSS Necklace 1881 COLLECTION
FREDERIQUE VAN DER WAL
Taking hold of the cover-spot for Cosmopolitan over 15 times in the 1980s and 90s, Frederique Van Der Wal spent her formidable years denying she was a model. “Fashion modeling was not a career yet and so I fought it for a very long time,” she confided, saying her humbling moment came when H20 named a fragrance after her—Frederique—making her more than just a pretty face. “I stood with this enormous bottle, and the ad ran in Vogue and Elle and everything,” she said. “I think it was probably six or seven years into my career before I dared to be proud of it.”
Dress ANGELOS BRATIS Necklace 1881 COLLECTION
A month after arriving in New York in 1970, Karen Bjornson became the house model—or muse—of Halston, who carried her to another level in her career before she broke into the editorial scene, gracing covers of Vogue, Newsweek and Ultrasuede. “He was my mentor,” she said of Halston. “He taught me everything, I would say. I was very lucky to be there, with him.”
Dress NOVIS Shoes OSKLEN
The first black model to sign an exclusive cosmetics contract with Revlon in 1992, Veronica Webb landed covers of Vogue, Elle, i-D and Marie Claire during her reign in the 80s and 90s, with her snowball starting to roll (or, perhaps, ignite a more voracious slide) in 1986. “The moment was an avalanche,” Webb explained. “In the span of ten days, I worked with Bruce Webber, Steven Meisel, Peter Lindbergh and Karl Lagerfeld.”
Blazer ETIENNE AIGNER
It was 1988 and Kara Young was wrapped in teddy bears in front of Richard Avedon for the cover (and Avedon’s last) of Vogue. “When I did that cover of Vogue, with ten Steven Meisel pictures inside,” she said of the experience, “you know you are going to eat well for a long time.” In addition, Young was the face of L’Oreal, Maybelline and, most notably, Victoria’s Secret; and, on top of Vogue, she landed numerous covers of Elle and Glamour in the 1990s.
Blouse ANGELOS BRATIS
The undisputed queen of full-figured modeling, breaking the norms of fashion in the 1990s, taking over billboards in Times Square for Liz Claiborne and being profiled by the New York Times, Emme’s moment came on a quiet winter night. “I walked out of a shoot for People Magazine in 1994,” she started, “and it was dark out, and there weren’t a lot of people on the street and the street was white,” she continued. “The snowflakes were so big and my face was still flushed because I was posing nude and I thought to myself, ‘Wow. I think my life is about to change.’”
FLUSHED IN BLUSH
FEATURING DJ CHELSEA LEYLAND WORDS GABRIELLE LIPTON PHOTOGRAPHS TYLER MITCHELL FASHION DIRECTOR ISE WHITE
Spring and summer runways pay homage to the spectrum’s most subtle, elusive and transformed hue.
xisting only within a supremely refined optic spectrum devoid of white and green, pink won’t be found on color wheels. It’s far more elusive than its baby girl image portrays. Even its female identity didn’t come about until the 1940s; for centuries, the complex range of hues between red and magenta signified masculinity—a strong, younger brother of the warlike colors that sandwich it. But in the pool of Spring 2014 collections, many designers recalled a bit of the color’s history, keeping its modern femininity but grounding it down from cotton candy clouds back to more resolute swatches of blush and rose (the latter of which, coincidentally, translates into ancient Greek as wâr). Zimmermann, an Australian label beloved for its body-transforming swimsuits and polished resort wear, opened its first New York Fashion Week runway show with a billowy organza dress patterned in a subtle blush print, followed by a top of the same design. The looks are materially delicate, but the ruffled necks and voluminous paneling gives their sheerness strength, as if the wearer is sophisticated enough to employ irony in her daintiness. “It’s a pale blush harlequin print that we developed,” said Nicky Zimmerman, who co-designs the brand with her sister. “We wanted the collection to open with a fresh, more optimistic feeling before it moved into a darker mood.” The collection, “The Ringmaster”, plays on the dark romance of the circus, switching between sharp tailoring and gentle figurations. Later come heavy metallics, weighty skirts and lots of black. Look closely, and you can see some of the floral patterns—almost poisonous in their austerity—blushing with rosy undertones, as if apologizing for being a bit too dark. “Fashion right now seems to be very much embracing femininity, but in a modern way,” said Former CFDA nominee Wes Gordon, a young designer whose luxury pieces have won the praise of Anna Wintour numerous times over since he graduated from Central Saint Martins in 2009 and launched his own line. “It used to be more sterile but now it’s fresher.” His spring collection employed a soft color palette inspired by the edible pastels of macarons. But the saccharine sweetness is contrasted with slashes of graphic ensembles—white, black, copper—and his choice of a lush rose for two statement dresses near the end was because of the grey and yellow undertones, purposefully dirtying up the pink (a capped-sleeve satin one is sure to be worn on red carpets by his celebrity clientele). “It’s not pink like a little girl. It’s grown up—confident.” Despite its past lives of manhood and bloodshed, pink is now in with the girls—a romantic at heart, a thing that blossoms. But tinged into shades of blush and rose, it grows up, and when paired with darker colors, begins to take on that seductive air of controlled flirtation. Bubblegum may not be the most becoming, but the color of a fine rosé? Slip that onto a sheer silhouette, and the war of the roses has been won.
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Left: Dress ALICE & OLIVIA Blazer ETIENNE AIGNER Necklace T&J DESIGNS Sunglasses ITALIA INDEPENDENT Above: Dress ANGELOS BRATIS Earrings KEVIA Bracelets HARRISON MORGAN Clutch GIORGIO ARMANI HAIR AVIAN KING MAKEUP ANDI METRO
THE MONSTER UNDER YOUR BED WORDS IAN FRISCH PHOTOGRAPHS MICHAEL TESSIER
Driven by street culture and hip-hop, artist and graphic designer Kevin Lyons has transformed some of the biggest brands in the fashion industry, showcasing his penchant for youthful imagery with mature undertones. 42
he couch was new, its brown leather breathing life like the flesh of a sprouting tree. And, on a sunny Wednesday afternoon in January, Kevin Lyons couldn’t help but stare at it. His chocolate-brown eyes, which echoed above his beaming white beard, darted over every few minutes. He stood up. “Can we try something?” he asked, photographer Michael Tessier pulling his camera off his face. “Can I run and dive into the couch? I can make a funny face or something. It’ll definitely be more, uh, me.” He lifted his right knee into the air, then his left, like a safari animal about to charge. “Ready?” Kevin Lyons, with his inner child still running rampant, has become a secret weapon in the world of graphic design—a nuclear warhead kept underground, a seemingly faceless revolutionary, known, unlike many hype-fueled artists, primarily for what he creates rather than who he is. “He has been behind the scenes as much as he has been in the front, but, most of the time, people didn’t know his name,” said legendary street artist Shepard Fairey in an exclusive interview. Lyons, throughout his 20-plus year career, was creative director and design director at Urban Outfitters and Stüssy, respectively; crafted breakthrough designs for Huf, Nike and Girl Skateboards; and, since doing projects for various outlets under his own name, has created memorable designs for the likes of Colette, DC, Adidas (and even Stüssy again) in the form of colorful, boisterous monsters that spit street- and slang-influenced quips, fulfilling, in a lot of ways, the anti-designer mentality—someone who isn’t traditional, but who has a distinct aesthetic and voice. “People are thinking, ‘Oh, you’re the opposite of what we would normally be looking for,’” explained Lyons. “But, for me,” he continued, “it’s still really important to have the DNA of whatever brand I’m working with embedded into what I’m doing while still really giving an element of myself too.” 2014 proves to be another chock-full, globetrotting year for Lyons. In late January, he went to France to finish a snowboard product and art collaboration with DC; is set to launch a collaboration with London-based kids brand Rough and Huddle, where he designed some leather bomber jackets; is putting together a line of shoes for Lakai Footwear due out in 2015; and is continuing his artist collaboration with Adidas Originals, where Lyons and three other artists travel to major cities around the world and host art-fueled parties, the first of which was at Art Basel in Miami this past December. The monsters that Kevin has branded himself off of, and what has fueled his freelancing career in recent past, stemmed from his two daughters, whom he would entertain with these characters. “They definitely still love the monsters,” Lyons said, echoing that the monsters have taken on autobiographical attributes which, although colorful and animated, give them an adult edge. But the girls continue to influence Lyons even with the monsters taking on a life outside of their home. “They will suggest things that I don’t think about,” he explained. “Sometimes it takes an eight-year-old to go, ‘What about that dude?’ and it makes the whole piece better.” Although now a family man, Lyons grew up in a world submerged in 80s hip-hop, the punk scene and street art—a kid with urban New England and tri-state sensibilities who, in his later teens, found himself among the young and hungry at Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), the most prestigious graphic design university in the country. He looked up to artists like Keith Haring who slapped their work on public canvases for all to see and admire. “His work was very democratic—and the silliness, the animated characters, it was all super fun,” Lyons said. “Haring is a very obvious line to the stuff I am doing now.” Lyons also spent a lot of time with RISD classmate Shepard Fairey,
screenprinting in empty studios and finding their artistic voice. “I met Kevin through the music that we were both into—punk and hip-hop,” said Fairey in a phone interview. “He was always really knowledgeable about music, and that was really influential for me,” he continued. “We would cut stencils for shirts and share designs; we were both into Ice-T at the time and swapped graphics for shirts that we had made.” This DIY mentality, which ran rampant in the underground cultures of the time, paved a specific road for Lyons into the professional art world. “I think because I came from that street culture and not ‘art’—hip-hop, skate, punk—it has allowed me to be more free with how I express my art and how I use my art rather than coming at it from a traditional way.” His eye for street culture and aesthetic, stemming from his specific musical inspirations such as Ice-T, Minor Threat and Public Enemy, allowed Lyons to influence many emerging brands in unique ways. In the late 90s, he was brought on at Girl Skateboards, working alongside founders Rick Howard and Mike Carroll to project a more well-rounded and slightly more urban and athletic brand (which also spilled over into Girl pro-skater Eric Koston’s streetwear line Fourstar). “When Rick [from Girl] approached me, he said he didn’t want it to be a skate brand the way you’d think it would be; he wanted it to be what’s going on with our culture,” Lyons explained, jumpstarting a Nautica and Ralph Lauren-inspired aesthetic in a traditionally hesh sport. “It was super cool to start something brand new in skateboarding,” he added. More high-end fashion companies, too, have picked up on this trend, even in upscale metropolitan cities like Paris. “Kevin is incredible!” boasted Sarah Andelman, Creative Director of Colette, the enormous French clothing retailer. “He’s as nice as Santa Claus, he’s [very] talented, and he’s mysterious because in addition to all the fabulous art we exhibited or produced together, he’s also doing so many projects as a consultant,” she continued. “He knows everything about streetwear.” On the flipside, he still dabbles with gritty brands, whose foundations of street culture run alongside his. “In a weird way he has reinvented himself,” said Adam Weissman, Art Director at Stüssy. “He was always very type-based, with hip-hop sayings, but how he incorporated that into the monsters—I thought it was really fresh,” he added. “DC, they came at me for the same reason Girl did,” explained Lyons. “‘You’re not a snowboarder, but snowboarding has become stale, and everything looks the same, so could you bring us some street mentality?’” His solution? Varsity jackets with ivy leauge colors, oozing crimson and navy. “It’s always about balancing the [monsters] and the influences that I know people want,” Lyons said. “It’s always what’s best for the brand,” he continued. “I know I have to give an element of myself, but even with DC or Stüssy it’s really important to have something there that is native to their brand.” And although the monsters have elevated to the likes of fashion bigwigs and streetwear heavyweights, Lyons hopes to one day to take them back to their roots and make a product line strictly for kids. “I created those monsters for kids,” he said. “I like the idea of doing kids clothes and making plates and bowls and pillowcases and thermoses and things like that. It takes me out of the same-old same-old of making t-shirts for adults.” A hope and ambition, much like the core of his work as an artist—a street-fueled, democratic presentation that everyone, young or old, can find meaning in—that brings it back to him as a person. Something that, although not changing him as a man, may switch his façade from warhead to teddy bear, from secret weapon to the fluffy, colorful monster under your bed.
Destiny Nicole, formerly Wavy Spice, transforms herself into Princess Nokia, her new anime-fueled moniker, and gears up for the release of Metallic Butterfly. WORDS KELSEY PAINE PHOTOGRAPHS JESSICA LEHRMAN STYLING SARAH GENTILLON
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mmersing herself in everything from music to art and activism, 22-year-old Harlem-born Latina beauty Destiny Nicole is the brainchild behind Princess Nokia; her striking intelligence and flair for the unusual enveloping each varied creative medium she undertakes. Previously known by her rap moniker Wavy Spice, Princess Nokia, as a musician, crafts an ethereal blend of sound, ranging from R&B, seapunk, alternative, trip-hop and rap, to ambient dreamscape and jungle music. As she prepares to release her first mixtape Metallic Butterfly this spring, Destiny’s sultry voice, rebellious persona and penchant for hypnotic visual aesthetics all collide into one compelling young woman—a woman whose varied interests fuel her work as Princess Nokia. As Destiny explains, the name Princess Nokia is reminiscent of the 1997 Hayao Miyazaki animated fantasy film Princess Mononoke, while Nokia is “representative of a Y2K impoverished girl. The Nokia phone is a prepaid phone that people use in the hood. I see things in this millennial post-apocalyptic city and Princess Nokia is fitting for that,” she said. At seven years old, Destiny began playing the violin with her siblings before joining choir and immersing herself in poetry slams, spoken word and orchestra events. But it was the iconic block parties in Spanish Harlem that opened her up to a new outlet for expression. The electronic, house, Latin and jungle music played at the famous Old Timer’s Block Parties on her own streets deeply affected her. “I’ll never forget when I listened to ‘I Like To Move It’ by Reel 2 Real,” she said. “When the beat dropped, it changed my life.” And growing up in New York City in the 90s, of course there was hip-hop: Biggie, Tupac, Lauryn Hill, Lil Kim, and Jay Z. But Destiny was not close-minded when it came to her influences; she also prefers Bjork, Reel Big Fish, Slipknot, Korn and especially all-female Canadian metal outfit Kittie. And her idol? Bronx beauty and pop sensation Jennifer Lopez, naturally. As an NYC kid exploring the downtown culture, from raves to poetry clubs, being introduced to artists and eccentrics at such a young age opened up her mind to the possibilities of a creative life. “I always knew I could do whatever I wanted to do,” she said. “Labels, they don’t mean shit; people are capable of many things, many talents, many mediums.” Working various jobs since she was 13, from retail to marketing, Destiny became involved in the American Civil Liberties Union through her high school. “I was already a really confident young feminist,” she said. “I was very tuned into political activism and personal
activism,” she continued. “Because of the way I was raised, I knew that music could always be an outlet for me and help me platform my life, let me be able to travel. It was never something like, ‘I want a manager immediately and I want to become this mega pop star.’” Instead, her aspirations were far grander, including not just music but filmmaking, writing, teaching and activism. And her attitude towards the music industry reveals as much: Moving from Wavy Spice to Princess Nokia signaled a change in her sound and direction, and Destiny has strategically and secretively released music and visuals through online mediums, opting to let the work speak for itself. Her most recent release is the video for the sensual, lovestruck drum ‘n’ bass song “Dragons”, produced by her new “silent partner/collaborator” OWWWLS. Directed by Milah Labin and Arvid Logan, Princess Nokia cavorts around on an arcade date, spliced with visuals featuring Japanese anime cartoons and metal bands. Destiny is particularly proud of this video, as it is a collaboration with her friend Ms. Labin, a member of Destiny’s own Smart Girl Club—a feminist creative unit for women to create and share artistic endeavors. As a multimedia artist, Destiny opened up her first art show through the Smart Girl Club initiative at the beginning of the year. Princess Nokia will drop Metallic Butterfly before June, and to hear Destiny describe it, the musical scope is as wide as her feminine vocals are intimate. “It’s an intellectual piece of music that combines the influence of NYC and teenage female life with the mind of a comic book nerd who is into weird magical ethereal stuff,” she said of the mixtape. “It’s reflective of my personality. I see myself as a princess because I’m very proud of myself as a woman.” Her first few songs as Princess Nokia each have a unique narrative: the slithering beat and lyrics of “Nokia” depict her idea of the diary of a city girl in her imagined futuristic world, while the swaggering hip-hop of “Vicki Gotti” is a depiction of her rap side and her experiences growing up in the inner city. As she points out, when it comes to the content on Metallic Butterfly: “It’s a cornucopia of things.” While Destiny readies her mixtape, she’s also crafting a pirate radio podcast-inspired mix called “Bikini Weather” for a May release, “based on an underground radio show I created in my head.” As Princess Nokia, Destiny embodies a new type of feminine power: not just a pop star, a rough rap chick, or eclectic riot grrrl. Princess Nokia is each one of these labels, while at the same time none of them. She’s ushering in a whole new medium for a woman’s self expression—and we’re all merely along for the ride.
“It’s an intellectual piece of music that combines the influence of NYC and teenage female life with the mind of a comic book nerd.”
hen Jennifer and Jessica Clavin of the band Bleached released their first single in 2011, Los Angeles scenesters let out a collective rally cry of excitement. Some might say that’s because the sisters had been two driving forces behind the much adored thrash punk band Mika Miko before its breakup in 2009, and fans were eager to see what the Clavins had up the sleeves of their torn and frayed jean jackets with their new endeavor. Others might have just been looking for some much needed invigoration into the Hollywood music scene and knew the darling duo, together with their hand-picked backing band comprised of bassist Macayla Grace Nester and drummer Bosh Rothman, could probably provide that adrenaline shot. But more than likely it’s because the Clavins are about as authentic as it gets when it comes to contemporary punk-flavored power rock, and if that first single, titled “Francis,” was any indication of things to come, Bleached promised to deliver in all of the above and more. Now, nearly three years later, Bleached have cut three additional releases — two more singles on 7” vinyl and 2013’s full length effort, Ride Your Heart. They’ve toured extensively, including a full European trek last year that took them to stages in Iceland, England and the London Calling Festival in the Netherlands, as well as a lengthy North American fall tour, which included nearly 30 gigs in cities like Vancouver, Vegas, St. Louis, Denver and, of course, a slew of shows
in California. They have enjoyed generous write-ups in prominent music publications like Pitchfork, NPR, Fader, and even Vogue, who praised Bleached for everything from their fashion sense to hitting the mark when it comes to sibling-led projects, saying, “…they nail a musical collaboration, nothing else can beat it.” And now, in 2014, the sisters are set to release another single in May, titled “For the Feel,” and a latespring or early-summer tour is in the works. There are, of course, dozens of events and desires that led to the formation of Bleached, including the split of Mika Miko, which led to a brief stint in New York for Jennifer while Jessica played in various bands in L.A. There were boyfriends and break-ups. But no single reason for starting Bleached was more prominent than the near-primal urge for the Clavins to perform together as sisters and have complete creative control over their music. It was Jennifer who approached Jessica with the idea, and—perhaps slightly bitter from previous endeavors—she had some serious ground rules. “When we started Bleached, I was like, I am making this just my sister and me,” Jennifer said. “I don’t want to have any other people trying to tell us what direction to go, what to do, or telling us what they can’t do.” For Jessica, the invite from her sister required a touch of careful consideration. “When Mika Miko broke up I went through this weird depression phase, and I realized I can’t live without music,” Jes-
sica said. “So I kept playing in bands and started my own band too. When Jenn [proposed Bleached], I was like, ‘Man, I just started this band, but all I really want to do is play music with my sister.’ It was fucking hard giving up a band that I had started. It felt like my child. I wanted to make them both work. But in the end, [with] where we are [now], I’m so glad I quit and started playing music with my sister.” Working together has allowed the Clavins to progress significantly as musicians. The departure of the screaming, buried vocals of Mika Miko has given way to harmonies and catchy yet deceptively deep lyrics. The sibling relationship also gives the duo a chance to freely experiment without criticism or whiny band member bullshit. “I never really know what direction we’re going to go, but I always know the progression is going to be new and exciting,” Jessica said. “Like, on the last record I played slide guitar, and I never played slide guitar before. I just went for it and I loved it. That’s what makes music fun: experimenting.” In addition to a strong reputation in the music world, the Clavins also have an interest in style that drives a noteworthy image. Punk-sheik and rarely seen without sunglasses, the sisters have an affinity for threads and presence, even releasing the Francis EP through Ooga Booga, a friend’s clothing store. “Before I was into music I was into sewing and designing clothes,” Jennifer said. “To this day I like
fashion so much. I like putting stuff on that no one else wears and make it look good. I feel like it’s a challenge.” And while they have fun with what they wear (Jessica, inspired by garb worn by the Temptations on the album cover of Truly for You, once wore a red poncho for an entire tour), their image is also a way to inspire others. “We get such inspiration when we look at people in fashion, so we want to do it for other people too,” Jessica said. “You create this image for yourself. Sometimes your image can change, and you go through phases, which is really cool. But embrace it. Like, how am I going to pull off ‘easy-going hippie?’ I’ll just wear a fucking poncho!” The past few years have given rise to a powerful, fun, tour-deforce with Bleached, and the future looks promising. In addition to the upcoming summer tour, they’ll be playing Weezer Cruise in February, and the duo have been hard at work penning new songs. Fans will likely get the chance to hear some fresh material and possibly the Clavin’s version of an classic rock & roll tune, as the “For the Feel” single will be accompanied by an as-of-yet-decided cover tune as the B-side to the 7” vinyl due in May. It would appear the bleeding permanent mark Bleached has left thus far shows no signs of slowing, and that seems just fine with most in the L.A. scene and beyond.
strong female emcee, a woman with a plan, the genius without a penis, Nyemiah Supreme is unapologetic about being herself. And with her long blonde braided weave, boyish glam ensembles and brash rhymes, Nyemiah as herself is so compelling, she doesn’t need a gimmick to get attention from anyone. In short: The rap game needs Nyemiah Supreme right now. The 22-year-old Queens-bred emcee signed to Timbaland’s Mosley Music Group based on her prowess in the booth alone, and her mixtape, There Can Be More Than 1, which debuted in the last quarter of 2013, features the iconic Timb on executive producing duties. The tape, featuring her breakout single “Rock & Roll” with Timbaland, is already garnering Nyemiah accolades from publications like XXL, who named her one of the “15 Female Rappers You Need to Know.” Nyemiah isn’t necessarily touting a message of female empowerment, though; one listen and it’s much more organic than that. Her message is all about the mixtape theme There Can Be More Than 1, a double entendre for both musical genres and artists. Each of the seven songs flirt with a different sound. “I wanted to give everybody a different piece of me,” she said. “I feel like the world is so stuck in one way sometimes and there are so many ways that you can do anything. You don’t have to follow one way that someone tells you to do.” For Nyemiah, that idea applies to inclusivity for female rappers. “Female hip-hop, people feel like there can only be one queen bitch rapper at one time,” she said. “We all can shine at the same time. At the end of the day, it’s still a competition, but you need competitors to have a competition.” And that competition is already taking notice of Nyemiah. The former dancer and Dipset music group intern met Timbaland through a work connection, and he immediately liked what he heard— and put her to work on rhymes. A huge fan of his most famous protégés Aaliyah and Missy Elliott, Nyemiah jumped right into the studio with Timbaland and has already been featured on tracks with the likes of Jay Z, Drake and Justin Timberlake. Starting off backup dancing for Lil Mama, the 90s-era hiphop aficionado caught the performing bug while touring with the “Lip Gloss” rapper. But she had always been into music, listening to hiphop mixtapes on the bus to school, particularly that New York sound
crafted by artists like A Tribe Called Quest, Salt-N-Pepa, G-Unit and Dipset. Nyemiah started dancing when she was seven, training in ballet, tap, African, jazz, and pop. So of course she brings her love of movement into her own upbeat music, focusing on the visual aspect of the concert experience, including working on her own choreography. Nyemiah, who refers to her sound as “hype hip-hop,” wants her music to incorporate the best of both worlds: “It’s something you can dance to and move to, and still at the same time feel the lyrics.” The self-admitted twerker is already exhibiting shades of predecessor Lil Kim’s mixture of grit, beauty and candor. And while Nyemiah continues to take notes on the game, she never focused on what seems to be a big deal today: women trying to make it in rap music. “I loved female rappers, not only because they were females, but because I loved the music they produced,” she said. “I’d never see it as a malefemale thing until now, being an artist. I just saw it as music, not gender based.” While she works on a full-length album, Nyemiah is gearing up for a big 2014, including a re-release of her There Can Be More Than 1 mixtape with additional songs. What’s more, she’ll be featured on Timbaland’s long awaited full-length project. With so many accomplished names in her corner, and an already effortlessly cool persona to boot, Nyemiah appreciates the fact that she is still making it on her own merit. “I’ve been fortunate enough to be able to be myself and be comfortable,” she explained. “I feel like most people fear that they’re not going to be able to be themselves, so they adjust or take off a little more or show a little more to get ahead,” she continued. “I’ve been able to move ahead just being myself. But there are the pressures of that.” Nyemiah’s image doesn’t strike one as either carefully honed or left to abandon either. She’s pleasing to the eye and ear, but not because she’s using her femininity or her formidable male connections. Nyemiah is doing it on her own terms. “When I think of Nyemiah Supreme and my whole career, what I see for what I haven’t accomplished yet is me on this huge stage. Lights shining,” she confided. “I feel like that’s a moment I’ll be in eventually and I’ll stand there, like, wow, this is what I’ve been waiting for the whole time.”
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A small fishing town encompassing the tip of Long Island, famed for its picturesque landscape and local seafood, embodies a young, dedicated community that heads for the ocean long after the tourists have packed their bags and seasonal businesses have closed their doors. This is winter surfing. This is Montauk.
t was ten minutes to five on a wind-whipped Sunday afternoon in mid-November, the sun crashing into the Atlantic off the easternmost edge of Long Island, and everyone was hustling to The Dock for last call. Montauk on the cusp of winter is always, for a cluster of its inhabitants, in a strangely compelling transition period. A place normally known for its sun-soaked summer beach life and fisherman-fueled populus was, on that crisp evening, ushering all its locals into its most popular bar for a last drink not just for the night, but for the entire season, closing its doors, like most businesses in the area, until the warmth of spring creeps back in six months down the road. But with the ocean, like the art of fishing, passed down from generation to generation, from father to son, comes an equally die-hard dedication that, rather than hibernating for winter, flourishes in the coldest months of the year, especially for locals: surfing. “When you leave and it gets cold and all the businesses close down, that’s our time. We enjoy that. That’s what we look forward to,” explained Jesse James Joeckel, Montauk local and founder of Whalebone Creative, a surf-and-Montauk-fueled clothing line produced and sold on its south shore. “The waves are the best in the winter. It’s the most consistent. It’s like that all winter long. There’s always weather. There’s always storms. There’s always nor’easters. There’s always waves to surf.” Joeckel founded Whalebone, and single-handedly designs and prints it streetwear, on the equal pretense of the local dedication to Montauk culture (his storefront boasts the original flooring from the space’s previous purpose, an ice shack, paying homage to its bloodline) as well as the vibrant surfing community. “If you live out here, you’re part of the ocean,” he explained. “You’re fishing. All of my friends’ fathers are fishermen, lobstermen, clammers, you name it. You’re involved in the ocean some way or another, and with that definitely comes surfing,” he continued. “Mom, dad, brothers, sisters, they all surf. I guess now a days it’s in the blood. Just like fishing is in the blood. It’s just what you do what with your life.” And with that special type of blood comes remarkable surfers, some of whom, like 18-year-old Quincy Davis, break out of the local scene and rise to international stardom. “Everyone is so surprised when I say I’m from New York. No one thinks that there are waves there,”
said Davis, formerly the third-ranked junior surfer in the world, who has traveled to the likes of Hawaii and Australia to compete. “These kids are doing things [on a surfboard] that no one else is doing and these kids grew up out here in Montauk,” Joeckel attested, echoing Davis’ sentiment. The conscious distance from other parts of New York is not lost on Montauk locals, who pride themselves on utilizing their own little nook of Long Island for themselves, a preservationist mentality that keeps the fishermen fishing year after year and the surfers tackling waves throughout the winter. “Once you commit to a winter here, you’ll love it forever,” confided Joeckel, sitting on the couch in Whalebone, sipping a Coors Light. “You could be in the most tropical place ever, on vacation, and you look at your phone and you’re getting pictures from your friends and you’re like, fuck, I’d rather be home freezing my ass off and surfing empty waves.” And it’s not just committing to a certain season and a certain activity that keeps Montauk in the hearts of its local community, but rather an intrinsic, daily fulfillment to live the life that Montauk has built for many generations past. “Montauk is full of hardworking, creative individuals. These guys have been doing it [their own way] since day one,” continued Joeckel. “We are so far away from everybody; we aren’t trying to get a hand from anyone else up-island or in the city. We’re out here and stuck here. That’s Montauk.” For Joeckel’s generation, where Sunday afternoons after watching football cap with catching waves, sipping a few beers and watching the sunset rather than a movie or video games, surfing in the winter has become a cloaked oasis for them, a period of calm retreat, a place and time where Montauk is sufficiently theirs, where the main purpose of this place existing is right at their fingertips, crashing into the peninsula’s north shore over and over again with every deep breath and furious exhale of the bay. “We will wait for that moment—could be a couple days, a week, maybe a month—and when it’s good, we will be out there. And it will only be us. It will only be your boys. We will drive up, jump out of the truck, head down the cliff, and there’ll be no one around. Could be snow on the ground, could be freezing, could be hailing sideways, but we will be out there. I feel like we live for that shit. The winter. That’s our time.”
MAYA HAYUK’S “CHEMICAL TRAILS” ON THE CORNER OF BOWERY AND HOUSTON
PAINTING BOWERY WORDS GABRIELLE LIPTON PHOTOGRAPHS TYLER MITCHELL
30 years after its first coat of paint, the infamous Bowery Mural still breathes life into the Lower East Side. 67
ne day during the summer of 1982, Keith Haring hopped a fence into an abandoned handball court at the intersection of Houston and Bowery in Manhattan. He spent the day filling nearly 50 garbage bags with the trash that stood three feet high at the base of the wall. Once a recreational outlet, it was now a withering recipient of a destitute neighborhood’s unwanted. Ladder, brush, fluorescent Day-Glo enamel, paint—orange, yellow, black—and two days later, the concrete slab was attired in a mural of the artist’s signature tribal patterns encasing empty human figurines, glowing from within. Unapproved street art was illegal, but Haring never asked permission. In this downtown neighborhood where the only things blooming were prostitution rings and a crack epidemic, he figured he was doing a public service. And for the other poor creative types like himself—or anyone, really, during this economically bleak time—it symbolized that success exists outside of paychecks, and beauty is often most beautiful when given as a gift. The mural stayed up for three months before it was whited out, and the wall returned to its original pale state. It stood quietly overlooked, watching the city be cleaned up around it, until one day, nearly 26 years later, a wealthy developer named Tony Goldman visited the gallery of art maven Jeffrey Deitch. Around the time Haring was painting, Goldman was snatching up derelict properties in what would become the neighborhoods of SoHo, South Beach and Wall Street—investments that made him one of the most successful developers in America. Deitch, meanwhile, had been advising Citibank in art finance before leaving to deal and advise independently. His gallery, Deitch Projects, was one of the first to deeply purport graffiti and street art. In casual conversation, Deitch mused about the approaching of what would have been Haring’s 50th birthday. The two had been close before AIDS took Haring for an early death in 1990, and Deitch Projects remained the representative of the Haring estate. Deitch wished to pay tribute by re-creating the iconic and similarly short-lived mural; the catch was that he didn’t know how to gain access to the property. Goldman retorted: he owned the wall. “He immediately said, ‘Sure, we can do this, let’s go,’” recalled Deitch. “We did an exact reproduction of Keith’s mural, and it got such a great reaction that we had to keep going. And ever since then, there’s been a program of selecting the most important artists coming out of street culture, and it’s become quite a remarkable series.” The Houston Bowery Wall, more readily known as the Bowery Mural, is now not only the preeminent street art installation in New York but arguably on the East Coast, as well.
street art is innately about self-promotion, and the rare monetary successes come in part from installing so much work that it can’t not be noticed. But before curators and gallerists come calling, any career in this genre begins with the legally consequential choice of working for free in public spaces—a raison d’être founded in hopes that more people will see more art more often. “The whole point of the wall is to appreciate street art, proving that it is art to be seen by all, but it’s also not glorifying it in one way or another,” said Meghan Coleman, Arts Manager for Goldman Properties, the company Tony began and is now run by his daughter, Jessica Goldman Srebnik, who survives him after he died of heart failure in 2012, and is now acting CEO of Goldman Properties. Coleman was working for Deitch at the time of the Haring tribute, which spurred the creation of an arts program at Goldman Properties. Deitch and Goldman collaborated on several more murals before Deitch ducked out, mostly due to lack of time when he became the Director of L.A.’s Museum of Contemporary Art in 2010. Coleman transitioned to working for Goldman and continued the endeavor. “As it’s growing, it’s getting a more contemporary program. It’s dependent on the artists of the time and who’s doing well. It’s growing.” In a typical year, the wall showcases three murals, ideally one made by each of an international, national and local artist. Often, works by chosen artists live in the Goldmans’ extensive art collection or have otherwise been long-admired by the family. Tony’s widow, Janet Goldman, selects artists from suggested lists compiled by Coleman, and from there, the planning process is only loosely systematic, mostly for formality. Preparations leading up to installation mainly comprise of ideological dialogues and Coleman making sure all of the artist’s needs are covered. “We’ve seen their body of work; we know what to expect, and we know that this is a very, very important statement for them,” said Jessica. “We know that they’re going to do something outstanding. There’s a lot of trust involved.” In October 2013, Callie Curry—under pseudonym Swoon— installed her mural. This, too, was a tribute, in honor of the one-year anniversary of Hurricane Sandy. The mythical sea goddess Thalassa, eyes skyward, rose from the center of a wave woven out of faces, houses, trains and buildings. Produced in collaboration with Groundswell, a community-based arts organization, nearly 40 teens and young adults took part in developing recovery stories into the mural’s narrative. A handful physically installed the mural alongside Curry, using a process involving parachute material while Curry went up and down her ladder hundreds of times, wheat pasting her blizzard of small cutouts into a cohesive bigger picture. “At first, Meghan [Coleman] thought the idea was crazy—it’s not how you make your typical mural,” said Curry. “But because we’ve been working together for so long, she was like, ‘It sounds complicated, what you’re saying, but I trust you.’” Deitch Projects represented Curry back when Coleman worked for Deitch, launching Curry into the global art market and resultantly the collection of the Goldmans. In late January, Swoon’s mural was covered in a layer of white paint, like the one under hers and the one under that and so on back to the original surface of the wall. The paint dried for two hours before Brooklyn-based artist Maya Hayuk began painting on the teal-base layer of her creation, “Chemical Trails.” For more than a decade, Hayuk has been perfecting her technique, a weaving of free-hand painted lines in patterns similar to those of Ukrainian rugs, and one that made museum curators and public officials worldwide seek her out for com-
“The whole point of the wall is to appreciate art, providing that it is art to be seen by all.”
or decades, the Bowery served as Manhattan’s skid row. Now, the upper part of it resides in NoHo, where things like Alexander Wang beanies and rare-herbed cocktails find their brethren. The wall stands at its helm, a vibe-controller—avant-garde but not aloof. A quiet center-of-attention, entertaining gazes but letting them decide what it’s trying to say. Since the Haring tribute, it has worn works created by Os Gêmeos, Shepard Fairey, Barry McGee, Dash Snow, Kenny Sharf, J R, FAILE, RETNA, AIKO, How and Nosm, Crash, a collaboration by Revok and Pose, Swoon and Maya Hayuk. Google-image any, and the results will look familiar (Fairey designed the omnipresent Obama HOPE posters). These are not spray paint-bynight type of people; these are some of the world’s best living artists who have spent decades refining complex techniques: wheat pasting, stenciling, hand-painting, the use of various types of machinery. Sure,
STREET ARTIST FUTURA IN HIS BROOKLYN APARTMENT, WHOSE WORK WILL APPEAR ON THE MURAL IN SPRING OF THIS YEAR
missioned works. Here, lines of blue, lavender, yellow, pink, black and brown cross-hatched atop one another into a 3D field of diamonds. “Its intention is to have multiple ‘reads’ from vantage points far away, close up, and from different angles,” said Hayuk. “It’s a painting that can be seen in a flash or meditated on. It was an absolute joy to create.” After Hayuk’s, a mural by Lenny McGurr—pseudonym, Futura—will go up. The Goldmans have sought after him for some time, and he admits to having purposefully postponed. Feeling the weight of the wall’s importance was heavy enough to tax his creativity. It’s not because it will be one of the five largest walls he’s ever painted. For him, this wall is more than another commission. For him, it represents the liberation of a repressed movement—one that he helped begin. “I remember the wall before I met anyone involved,” said McGurr. “I’ll be very honest and say that it’s intimidating. It has its own life and has always been our kind of art’s banner location in Manhattan. And me, personally, being a New Yorker—it’s going to be my first real masterpiece in New York City since the train I painted in 1980.” Said train was a car-long triumph of abstract art that looked like a sordid sunset out of a Miyazaki movie or the air of a post-apocalyptic Candyland—breathy clouds of warm oranges and pinks with heavy black pieces of doodled debris drifting atop. The thought of such a stunning work whizzing through subway tunnels seems bizarre, but then again, so does some of the best artwork in New York being made in public across from the Whole Foods on Houston and then
painted over three months later. “I’m allegedly Futura, I’m supposed to be off in space somewhere. But if Picasso, Rembrandt—if they’d known about public art, they would have done it, too. But no one had thought about it yet. No one had thought, ‘Oh, let me just go paint that wall for the community, for everyone.’”
hen we hear “street art” now, we think of Banksy and colorful collages making abandoned garage doors more appeasing. “Graffiti” perhaps carries stigma still: indecipherable tags scrawled on walls of underpasses and public restrooms. But on the whole, it’s accepted—expected, even. For an art form born in a black hole, this pervasiveness is impressive. Unlike impressionism unwinding into the distortions of expressionism or the technical mastery of romanticism transitioning into realism, street art didn’t have a forefather. A fullness from the binge on conspicuous pop art in the 60s coupled with the recession of the 70s sent American art silently to its room while the Cold War and social issues fought loudly at the dinner table. But as the 80s approached, boyish urban youth, hip-hop beats and breakdancing were fueling an energetic, restless movement and—more than anything—a desire to feel a part of something positive beyond themselves. The movement started as a matter of quantity rather than quality, the goal being to see your tag as much as possible. With that in
PHOTOGRAPHS LANDRY, WWW.MYDOGISPOLITE.COM
MAYA HAYUK FINISHING HER PAINTING, CHEMICAL TRAILS, ON THE BOWERY MURAL IN FEBRUARY
mind, subways became the obvious canvas of choice, carrying works around the city at no expense to the artist. Quickly, tags became more elaborate, more colorful, planned, imaginative. Styles became recognizable. Leaders (McGurr, for one), heralded. They taught each other how to outline, fill, make images 3D with color, elaborate backgrounds. An ethical undertone emerged of using this art to improve urban landscapes bleak from the national economic recession. Nevertheless, public officials detested it. Mayor Koch deemed it a “quality of life offense,” deserving of five days in jail. New York spent millions of dollars cleaning it off its subways. Europe, however, caught word and embraced the form. The ambitious artists from New York, including McGurr, began traveling to take part in the movements on the street of the Dutch, then the French, the Italians, Germans and British. By the late 90s and into the millennium, street art was ubiquitous in Japan. (Melbourne is a major incubator now.) But dissenters stateside still saw it as a disrespectful epidemic, and Deitch was one of the few fighting for appreciation. Finally, cities such as L.A., Richmond, Miami and Philadelphia (the latter two of which have art properties owned by Goldman) began to embrace street art as a positive influence. But in New York, street art still has no real home. The Graffiti Hall of Fame wall on 106th Street lacks modern innovation, and even 5Pointz in Queens was becoming chaotic and overrun before it was sent to the grave last November. The Houston Bowery Wall is the only real, recognized showcase of one of
the biggest movements in contemporary art. “It’s a sad state when the city that’s the mecca for the whole shit winds up being a weak link in the modern chain with the exception of this wall,” said McGurr. “But the fact that it’s all coming back, and there’s some American interest, I’m very happy to see. This wall underscores that for me. It’s a return home.” As investors and city officials increasingly begin to breed from a generation that grew up with street art as a status quo, perhaps their expectation will turn increasingly into veneration, giving artists more recognized outlets and fewer misdemeanor punishments. “It’s people who make things happen,” said Deitch, though he was, of course, referring to his old friend, Tony. “The passing of a patron like that—it has an effect.” Nowhere on the wall does it say who owns it or how it began, but as Hayuk’s mural went up, and Futura’s after that, and then mural after mural after that, the domino effect that began with the tribute to Haring tumbles further and further into one to Tony Goldman—one too humble to admit to being anything other than a positive aesthetic influence on its community, despite the fortune amassed by this seemingly simple goal. “I think when you incorporate creativity into something, it facilitates even greater creativity,” said Jessica, Tony’s daughter. “And art really gets you to think, it gets you to dream, to wonder, and hopefully even gets you to act.” Sometimes, those actions are best kept simple, such as one man turning trash into a city’s treasure.
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With the help of paper sculpture specialists The Makerie Studio, photographer Kenji Toma channels Salvador Dali’s shadow puppets for this glowing take on the classic tale of a princess who pricks her finger and sleeps for 100 years before being awakened by a prince. 92
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THE TREATMENT PHOTOGRAPHS PATRICK POSTLE STYLING BELINDA MARTIN
Telling of a spontaneous stop for a trim at East Villageâ€™s Beauty Bar, photographer Patrick Postle captures the story of a downtown girl trying to keep it together. 110
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From John Varvatos to ØDD, photographer Molly Goldrick paints a stoic, brooding portrait of men’s spring and summer fashion, from the slick to the underground. 126
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Husband and wife photographer duo Chris and Sarah Rhoads take us to the famed Pink Motel in Sun Valley, best known for hosting the annual skateboard event Pink Motel Pool Party and being the hide-out for Ryan Goslingâ€™s character in Drive. 134
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Cutting class. Hiding out in the locker room. Having a cigarette instead of passing in homework. A disdain for academic authority. Memories of days gone by take us back to youthful, rebellious snapshots of high schoolâ€”days where summer is on the horizon and the end is in sight. PHOTOGRAPHS MICHEAL T ESSIER STYLING JOSH ES at FACTORY DOWNTOWN
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