08 URBAN BOHEMIANS
On her Tales of Endearment blog, Natalie documents her hunting trips for vintage digs and remarkable houses with a seemingly limitless cast of glamorous friends. In this edition of The List she presents five of those urban bohemians, a new breed of stylish world travellers that shop, live and play off the beaten track. Natalie visits an amorous Lola Schnabel in her Chelsea Hotel appartment, and Annabelle Dexter-Jones - the baby of the Ronson/DexterJones clan - in her loft in New York. Blue haired It Girl Mademoiselle Yulia invites Natalie to what must be the smallest restaurant in Tokyo, and in Sydney, Natalie discovers her dream house… There’s lots more on talesofendearment.com and extra’s on thelistmag.com.
Photo: Natalie Joos.
Curated by Natalie Joos
MADEMOISELLE YULIA DJ - Jewelry and clothing Designer - Pop singer - It girl
Tokyo - Koenji
‘Mademoiselle Yulia has made quite a name for herself as a DJ, and not just in Japan. She plays from something huge like FNO, H&M, Uniqlo (in Paris), Louis Vuitton, Top Shop and Cartier to magazine parties and clubs events. One of her favorite gigs was opening for Kylie Minogue, whom she admires immensely.’ Words & Photo: Natalie Joos
Volgens Wikipedia is een ‘It girl’ een jonge vrouw gezegend met ‘It’, een absolute aantrekkingskracht. Elinor Glyn, die het oorspronkelijke magazine artikel chreef waarop de film ‘It’ is geïnspireerd legde het zo uit: “Met ‘It’ trek je als vrouw alle mannen aan, en als man alle vrouwen. Terwijl ‘It girls’ tegenwoordig vooral bekend zijn als rijke, jonge vrouwen die vooral shoppen, party-hoppen en al ‘s een goed doel meepikken, focuste het originele concept op persoonlijkheid.” Mademoiselle Yulia is een 24-jarige, rasechte It girl in Japan, maar dan wel eentje met volop persoonlijkheid. Ze is een nationale merknaam en inspiratie voor een ganse generatie jonge Japanse meisjes. Ze is DJ, ontwerpt juwelen en mode, releaste recent haar eerste pop-electro plaat, ontwerpt ‘Gizmobies’, Iphone hoezen, en is de trotse eigenaresse van een dwergpoedel. Ik ontmoet Mademoiselle Yulia in haar studio in Koenji, een trendy buurtje ten westen van Shinjuku. Hier werkt ze aan haar juwelenlijn en ontwerpt ze haar podium outfits. Als ze niet ergens op een trendy party aan het DJ-en is. En nu begint ze met het ontwerp van een kledinglijn voor Joy Rich in Los Angeles langzaam aan haar verovering van de States. Meer foto’s van Mademoiselle Yulia op talesofendearment.com.
According to Wikipedia the term “It girl” is used for “a young woman who possess the quality ‘It’ or absolute attraction. Elinor Glyn, who wrote the original magazine story which inspired the film It with Clara Bow, lectured: “While ‘It girls’ of today are commonly young females in the worlds of fashion or show business, the original concept focused on personality.” We know all sorts of It girls and they are usually from affluent families and do not much more than shoe shopping, party hopping and attend the occasional charity event. Mademoiselle Yulia is a bonafide, 24-year old It girl in Japan but one can hardly say she twiddles her thumbs for fun. She’s a national brand name, a sought-after multi-tasker and an inspiration for generations of young Japanese girls. She’s a DJ, jewelry and clothing designer, pop singer, colorist, toy poodle owner, chocolate lover, vintage shopper and then sometimes, just an It girl who gets recognized in the streets. I meet Mademoiselle Yulia at her studio in Koenji, a trendy little neighborhood West of Shinjuku. This is where Yulia comes to design her jewelry line, Giza, and work with her friend and Garter founder Koshiro Ebata on her stage costumes. Mademoiselle Yulia started DJing when she was 17 years old, studying on her decks at home until she got her first paid gig at the age of 19. “I always wanted
to be a different from the other girls,” she explains. “And over time my taste in clothes changed as well. The hair color is just another accessory which matches my outfits.” Mademoiselle Yulia has made quite a name for herself as a DJ, and not just in Japan. “Recently I have been playing a lot in Asia: Korea, Taiwan, Beijing, Malaysia and Singapore.” One of her favorite gigs was opening for Kylie Minogue, whom she admires immensely. “I felt very honored,” she says with a blissful smile.Yulia released her first “popelectro” album this October. I listened to it – she has a nice voice! For the past year she’s also been designing ‘Gizmobies’, Iphone cover designs based on the motifs she uses for her jewelry. And now she’s slowly making her way across the pond, starting with a clothing line for Joy Rich in Los Angeles. See what I mean, she’s no twiddler…
LOLA SCHNABEL Film maker - PainterJewellery Designer - Sculptor
Tokyo - Koenji
Words & Photo: Natalie Joos
When you enter the Chelsea Hotel on 23rd Street a sign warns tourists that the “hotel is not accessible to the general public at this time.The hotel is closed until further notice.” I hesitate for a second, but trod on swiftly to the front desk. I’m here on official business after all. As I check in and ask to ring up Lola Schnabel’s apartment, the guard shoos some seemingly illiterate, camera waving tourists away. At least these Swedes got a last good look at the place because even the tenants have been asked to leave. What’s to become of this great historic landmark, I wonder? “Natalie!” a voice behind me huffs. It’s Lola, dressed in yoga pants and a denim jacket, lugging bags of groceries and flowers. “Perfect timing,” she says with a sigh of relief.“I just finished a spinning class. Do you mind if I shower first?” Of course not. Go ahead. As we head up the elevator, she gets excited. “You don’t know what happened to me!” she starts. Her eyes grow wide and her voice sounds elated. “I’ve just come back from India and I got this e-mail from this guy who asked me to do an avant-garde film with him. I didn’t answer at first because I was at a silent retreat, but when I came back he had sent me another message and I responded. We’ve been e-mailing and sending photos and exchanging ideas on film and art and philosophy ever since. He’s amazing! We’re moving in together! He’s going go be my husband!” Wow, that IS amazing. Lola and I have been going back and forth about shooting for almost a year. She never struck me as a happy-go-lucky girl, a bit moody perhaps, or aloof. But this is a new Lola, a Lola-inlove, a Lola I am thrilled to photograph. “I think I needed that time in India to reflect. I needed to make that space for someone to enter my life.” And
the funny thing is, Isaac is from New York, just like Lola, and the exact same age.They could have grown up on the same street and never known it. “I didn’t think I’d find someone in New York. I had given up. But Isaac is wonderful.”
Lola lived in the Chelsea Hotel for about 8 years but as legends go, everything good comes to an end. And she feels it’s time to go. “I’m a little bit tired of this rickety floor and crammed space. I want something new and modern, maybe even a house on Long Island.” For a city girl this may sound like a drastic,
erratic move but for the artist/film maker it’s the perfect escape to concentrate on work and her blossoming relationship. Isaac is an artist too, and soonto-be screen writer. He’s at the apartment when we walk in, hunched over his computer on the patio. He sounds like Woody Allen – with the same funny accent and pessimistic jokes. Except he’s tall and kind of lanky with a strong nose and friendly eyes. And when Lola gets dressed, she thinks of him. I’m impressed with Lola’s commitment to our shoot. She’s thought of looks and make-up, reminds me of the flowers she bought “just for this”, and pulls out vintage pieces from her recent travels in Europe. I find out that Lola’s mother Jacqueline grew up near Antwerp in Belgium, which makes us halffellow-countrywomen and me grow even fonder of her. “I bought this beautiful handembroidered apron with a matching peasent blouse at a local market in Holland. It’s open in the back so it’s quite sexy. But is the top too bulky?” she asks while she gleams at Isaac. She abandons the idea of covering her face in white face paint and puts on red lipstick and thigh highs instead. I must admit I’m a little concerned about all that exposed flesh, not to say that I don’t approve, but I want to make sure she’s OK with it. “I love it!” she beams. At the end of our shoot Lola asks me to take a few photos of Isaac and her together. She gives him a pink cashmere sweater and black tie and decides to wear a matching pajama shirt. “These will be the first photos of our first week together!” she croons as she climbs the stairs to the rooftop. I have them sit next to each other, their feet dangling over the edge, like two love birds on a wire and I think: I’m so happy the sun came out today.
NIEUWE AFLEVERINGEN - ELKE DONDERDAG
“Darling, a turban goes with everything. It’s an important part of me – yet it doesn’t restrict or limit me or even enhance. It’s a reminder of the values my family and religion taught me. It inherently doesn’t make me more religious or spiritual – it’s just fabric. It’s how I behave day to day with the world around me that defines me. My interactions with the universe.”
WARIS AHLUWALIA Actor - Juwelry Designer Cultural entrepreneur
Words & Photo: Natalie Joos
“Hoe lang zijn we deze shoot al aan het plannen,’ vraagt Warris me. “Een jaar!’, schiet ik terug. “Yeah, ik was aan het wachten tot de bezoekersaantallen op je site omhoog gingen.” Hij lacht als hij mijn boze blik ziet. Dit is het soort humor dat je nooit beu wordt omdat je je er niet op kan voorbereiden. Mensen buiten New York kennen Waris Ahluwalia waarschijnlijk als ‘die mysterieuze, bebaarde man met de tulband’ uit de Wes Anderson films. Behalve grappig is hij ook slank en knap. Schrijf dat maar op. En hij heeft geen accent, moest je je dat afvragen.Hij groeide op in de stad.Zijn familie verhuisde vanuit het Himalaya gebergte - hij zette zijn eerste stappen in de GoudenTempel - naar New York toen hij vijf was. Als ik hem vraag of de tulband hem niet beperkt, is hij meteen duidelijk: “Darling, een tulband staat met alles. Het is een belangrijk deel van me, en tegelijk beperkt of versterkt hij me niet. De tulband herinnert me aan de waarden die mijn familie en religie me leerden. Het maakt me niet inherent religieuzer of spiritueler. Het is maar stof. Het is hoe ik dag na dag tegenover de wereld sta dat me definieert. Mijn interactie met het universum.”
“How long ago did we first start talking about our shoot?” Waris asks me casually. “A year ago!!” I fire back. “Yeah, I was kind of waiting for your site stats to go up,” he reasons, then chuckles when I shoot him an offended look. It’s the sort of humor that doesn’t get old because you’re never prepared for it. Waris Ahluwalia - the 37-year old Sikh most people outside of New York have come to know as ‘the mysterious, bearded man with turban’ from the Wes Anderson movies - is funny. And skinny, lean and good looking. Write that down. He doesn’t have an accent either, in case you’re wondering. He grew up in the city. His family moved from the Himalayas – he took his first steps at the Golden Temple – to New York when he was 5-years old. But he still enjoys his mom’s Daal dish, keeps his beard long and takes five minutes every morning to tie his signature, black turban – he doesn’t sleep with it. When I ask him if it’s limiting his swag, he objects: “Darling, a turban goes with everything. It’s an important part of me – yet it doesn’t restrict or limit me or even enhance. It’s a reminder of the values my family and religion taught me. It inherently doesn’t make me more religious or spiritual – it’s just fabric. It’s how I behave day to day with the world around me that defines me. My interactions with the universe.” When we arrive at Melet Mercantile the sun is wrapped in a haze of hungry humidity. We learn (from twitter) that a nasty storm is headed our way from the city. But it doesn’t make it any cooler though – I’m sweating.Waris takes his time. He loops the store a few times before he makes up his mind about the pieces he’s going to wear. He’s picky and determined. Most photographers want to put him in suits, probably because “I tend to wear suits quite a
lot,” he guesses. “Simplicity blended with complexity to create a dashing uniform. The hope is that if one looks like a gentleman, one may behave like a gentleman. What a world that would be.” But today is different. ”No bottoms!” he yells. “I’m not going to wear any bottoms! Where do you keep your loin cloths?” The sales girls giggle and present him with a few colorful sarongs instead. “Yes!” We drive to the Bay with a change of clothes and an enormous beaded necklace.The air is thickening; the storm dangerously close and looming. We probably have an hour left before the storm slaps us in the face. But Waris is a professional. He stays in character the entire time, a serious, serene version of himself. “Are you single?” I ask him, genuinely. “At the moment I am indeed very single,” he answers willingly. “Are you running a dating service on your site? Maybe you could help with some pick up lines.” Oh, Ladies, did I mention House of Waris makes amazing jewelry? According to the story, it all began with a ring….
HEIDI MIDDLETON Creative Director and Head Designer at Sass & Bide
Words & Photo: Natalie Joos
Heidi has set the table on the patio with a light lunch: goat cheese, olives, cured trout. Classical music is playing softly over the speakers. The entire front of the house facing the bay is open, basking in sunlight throughout the day and displaying breathtaking sunsets at dusk. Heidi is Creative Director and Head Designer at Sass & Bide, a position she’s held for the past 13 years. That the brand is doing well is an understatement. You may have heard about the 65% stake purchase by Myer for $42 million in 2011 and the company’s plans to open flagships in Los Angeles, London and New York. Heidi and her partner Sarah-Jane Clarke have appeared on every subsequent Young Rich List but have remained perfectly unaffected and modest – they are lovely, down-to-earth women with fulfilling, healthy lives and wonderful families. Despite a bout with cancer in 2007, Heidi is the picture of happiness and peace. She’s poised, soft-spoken, a little bit shy, curious, sexy, and in the best shape of her life. I may very well check off “dream body” on my list of marvels today too. It’s a hot day and I’m in blissful heavens: This is my dream house…
Heidi heeft een lichte lunch met geitenkaas, olijven en forel klaargezet op de patio. Op de achtergrond speelt klassieke muziek door de luidsprekers. De ganse voorzijde van het huis met zicht op de baai is open waardoor het de ganse dag in zonlicht baadt en je er ‘s avonds van de meest ongelofelijke zonsondergangen geniet. Heidi is al dertien jaar Creatief Directeur en Head Designer van Sass & Bide. Dat het merk het goed doet is een understatement. Je hebt misschien gelezen dat investeringsmaatschappij Myer in 2011 vijfenzestig procent van de aandelen overnam voor 42 miljoen dollar, en dat het bedrijf flagship stores plant in Los Angeles, Londen en New York. Heidi en haar zakenpartner Sarah-Jane Clarke verschijnen consequent op alle ‘Young Rich’ lijstjes, maar het succes lijkt hen niet te beïnvloeden. Het zijn lieve, realistische vrouwen met een vervullend, gezond leven en mooie gezinnen. Ondanks een aanvaring met kanker in 2007, is Heidi een toonbeeld van geluk en rust. Ze is in balans, spreekt zacht, verlegen zelfs, nieuwsgierig, sexy en in de vorm van haar leven. En ‘droomlichaam’ kan ik meteen ook aankruisen in het lijstje om haar te beschrijven. En ze woont in mijn droomhuis…
ANNABELLE DEXTER-JONES Model - Fashion Designer Muse
‘That’s my dad!” she chuckles when “Waiting for a Girl like You” starts playing over the speakers at the store. Annabelle’s father is Mick Jones of the band Foreigner. Her Mom Ann Dexter was a socialite and writer who later remarried real estate entrepreneur Laurence Ronson.’ Words & Photo: Natalie Joos
Annabelle and I meet on the second floor at 84 Wooster Street. She’s a pretty girl with blonde tossled hair, soft brown eyes and a disarming smile. She wears a short mint knit cotton Courreges dress with navy socks and navy Weston loafers. Her friend Sarah Staudinger hangs around, sipping iced coffee, dispersing moral and styling support. Our shoot came about very last minute and though I have faith in my muse’s downto-earthness, I can never be sure what attitude to expect. After all Annabelle just got off a long flight from Paris and had a little welcome-home party the night before. However, any insecurities I have about her genuine commitment to the shoot dissipate as soon as I see her giggle. She cocks her head slightly to the left, squints her eyes and then something cute happens: her nose crinkles! “That’s my dad!” she chuckles when “Waiting for a Girl like You” starts playing over the speakers at the store. Annabelle’s father is Mick Jones of the band Foreigner. Her Mom Ann Dexter was a socialite and writer who later remarried real estate entrepreneur Laurence
Ronson. Annabelle’s brother Alexander DexterJones is also a musician and her three famous halfsiblings, Samantha, Charlotte and Mark Ronson need no introduction. Growing up as the youngest in such a large, publicly creative family has kept Annabelle surprisingly unaffected. At twentyfour she’s well-read, composed and candidly engaging. She just graduated from Bard with a degree in English Literature and has been taking acting classes since she was twelve. “I’m not sure that acting was a conscious effort to establish a unique identity amongst my siblings; it’s just something I believe comes naturally and I can’t live without.” She plays Matti in a 2003 short called Wholey Moses and just recently starred in a movie directed by her boyfriend, graffiti-artist and French-man-about-town, Andre Saraiva. Annabelle likes her dresses, shorts and skirts to be short, and her sweaters, cardigans and t-shirts small and tight. She reminds me of Jodie Foster in Taxi Driver, minus the platforms. With minimal effort she creates a style that suggests a “less is more” sentiment.And she mixes in vintage where ever she can. Ultimately she’d like to own
her mom’s closet. “Her closet is a goldmine! My sister Charlotte and I fight over her stuff because we have similar tastes. I scored some great Alaia mini-dresses, Armani suits, cool Agnes B. coats, and some crazy Versace numbers I might never wear but I couldn’t let them go.” She tells me about a project she’s working on with some friends, to collectively find and sell amazing vintage. But that’s all I am allowed to say about it, so watch this space.