Illustration by Spiros Halaris
In fashion, as in life, scarcity often breeds desire. It’s a truism that the quintessential New York City skate- and streetwear brand, Supreme, has adopted as an operating philosophy, with its insanely sought-after controlled-quantity sneaker collaborations and limited-edition, artist-designed decks. But it’s also a notion that fuels the world of high fashion, as the French house Louis Vuitton knows well. That’s why Supreme’s new collaboration with Louis Vuitton is already shaping up to be a watershed in the annals of covetousness. Unveiled at the Vuitton fall/winter men’s show in Paris in January, the line encompasses an array of clothes, bags, and accessories; when images of the collection were released on Instagram immediately after, it caused an insta-furor. The pieces — among them, a Supreme-ified rendition of the iconic Vuitton “Speedy” bag (illustrated here) — will all be produced in extraordinarily small numbers and available only at select Louis Vuitton stores in July.
With her accessories line, Brother Vellies, designer Aurora James is taking an unconventional approach to sustainable fashion.
Photography by Cheryl Dunn • Styling by Liz McClean
“The other day I was listening to that TLC song ‘Waterfalls,’ ” Aurora James tells me. On her feet are pink over-the-knee boots, in her hand a shearling purse with enough fluff to double as a pillow. “And I had this epiphany — what is that song really saying? ‘Stick to the rivers and the roads that you’re used to’? It’s crazy!”
James is proof that chasing waterfalls sometimes works out. Having followed an unconventional career path — after dropping out of college, she worked for an arts nonprofit, at a celebrity news show, and as a builder of vertical gardens — the 32-year-old Toronto native is one of the buzziest voices in ethical design. Brother Vellies, her line of shoes and bags handmade in several African nations, won a Council of Fashion Designers of America award in 2015, defying the stereotype that sustainability can’t be stylish. James takes inspiration from the African artisans who produce the pieces, which are traditional with a twist. One boot, a version of the South African vellie, comes in patent cork and a holographic leather.
The woman helping keep Africa’s footwear traditions alive says she’s “all about rituals” in her own life. Her secret to a good day: comfortable footwear. After swearing off high heels for years, James rediscovered them. “I used to think it was some kind of mysterious process to make heels comfortable, like witchcraft,” she says. “It’s not actually that hard.”
Here’s a look at a day spent walking in her shoes.
James lives in Brooklyn these days, in a two-bedroom on Greene Avenue in Bed-Stuy. Her boyfriend, a stylist for basketball players, is around the corner. While walking her dog, Cupid, a Yorkshire terrier, she stops by Clementine Bakery for an almond milk latte. After checking in via WhatsApp with Brother Vellies’ workshops in Morocco, Ethiopia, Burkina Faso, Mali, South Africa, and Haiti, James heads into the city to visit her store at South Street Seaport
In the afternoon, James heads to her office in the CFDA Fashion Incubator space in the garment district, where she works on sketches and moodboards. When it’s time for dinner, she cooks at home — five nights a week. “I’m into oils — nuts, cheeses, avocado, coconut — and pastas made of veggies instead of grain,” she says. If she does go out, it’ll be somewhere like Pie- tro Nolita, whose all-pink décor matches more than a few Brother Vellies shoes. “The color,” she says, “makes me happy.”
James grabs a drink — preferably the Devil’s Garden — with a friend at the Hotel Delmano in Williamsburg. “I love mezcal,” she says. “If they don’t have it, I’m probably not going.” When she gets home, James turns on her humidifier, infused with a bit of lavender, to wind down an hour before bed. “I love the idea of coming into my room when it’s humid and smelling nice,” she says. “And it’s great for your skin.” Not to mention your plants, of which James has better than a hundred.
A new book and exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver focus on the early work of Jean-Michel Basquiat. In this excerpt, Luc Sante remembers his friend before fame claimed him.
Jean-Michel Basquiat has ascended so far in the night sky since I last saw him, in 1983, and especially since his untimely death five years later, that I have to squint hard to remember his earthly and physical presence. He had a disquieting stare, which was his first line of defense. It was turned on when I, along with Alexis Adler and Felice Rosser and maybe others, first met him at the Mudd Club in the spring of 1979, when he was wearing a lab coat and carrying a briefcase. “Going on a trip?” I asked him, stupidly.“Always,” he replied, inevitably.
Soon after, he became a part of our world and the stare went into part-time abeyance. We did a lot of ordinary things together. We bonded on the subject of shoes: boxing-style sneakers — the laces extending down to the toes, that is — that we spotted on St. Marks Place, and black desert boots, which we found at Konopny’s, the shoe store on First Avenue that sold dead stock and conducted business exclusively on the stoop outside, since the inside was a dense and precarious warren of boxes. I gave him and Alexis the homemade bookcase that had come with my apartment, and he and I carried the tall and wobbly thing down five flights of stairs, across five blocks, and up another six flights.
We smoked pot and listened to music: funk, dub, jazz. I went often to see his band — Test Pattern, later renamed Gray — at various places but mostly Arleen’s (called A’s, with the A in a circle) on Broome Street,a multiuse, semi-communal space that was less a punk club than a miniature utopian Amsterdam. They played some kind of dub jazz with feelers extending into hip-hop. My most enduring visual memory of Jean is of him playing his clarinet, wearing an overcoat, his hair short in front and nascent dreadlocks in back — an Afro-mullet — looking like a historical condensation of New York City skronk, 1942–1982. I used to have a mixtape he made in which all the songs were brutally cut into and out of — no beginnings or endings allowed to survive. It was a painter’s mixtape, cut with a palette knife.
In those days I was putting together a magazine — it was called Stranded, and the work was primarily by employees of the Strand bookstore, where I then worked — that gathered and collated anything anyone wished to supply two hundred copies of. I wanted to include something by Jean, but I knew he had no money, so I offered to fund the copying myself. He gave me a beautiful drawing/collage: paint spatters, fingerprints, diagrams, a businessman’s head, a fraudulent-sounding small ad from the back of a comic book, the heading “Number One.” Unfortunately, it had several layers of relief; it couldn’t be photocopied. Abashed, I asked him for something else. A few days later he gave me a 1950s photo of a large group of schmoes, their eyes and mouths cut out and “BAD” scrawled above. It was as if to say “fuck off,” but I didn’t take it personally.
I ran into him at the Alamo cube on Astor Place one day. He had a stack of color-Xeroxed postcards and I gave him a dollar for one that featured his photo booth self-portrait along with comic-book sound effects, a bar code, and Abstract Expressionist splotches and swipes in red, blue, and yellow. A few days later, as we sat drinking beer on the fire escape stairs next to the old Center Bar on St. Marks, he told me that he had shown another of the postcards to Henry Geldzahler (whom he calls “Henry Godzilla” in Downtown 81), the magnetic center of the New York art world in those days. That was it, I thought, and it was: an interaction that was to lead him to Andy Warhol and beyond. The last time I saw him I had just come through the turnstile at the BMT station on 57th Street, going home from work. I stood at the top of the downtown stairs, he at the bottom. We exchanged waves and he started climbing. On the first landing he whipped out a marker and drew something on the wall. On the second landing two cops emerged from a recess and collared him. I kept going. That scene repeats in my mind like a filmstrip or a flip book. Soon he was famous, and all too soon he was dead. Luc Sante, the author of Low Life and The Other Paris, is a writer based in New York.
Excerpted from Basquiat Before Basquiat: East 12th Street, 1979–1980 by Nora Burnett Abrams, 128 pp., Princeton Architectural Press.
In just a few short years, the British-born photographer has become one of fashion’s hottest image makers. But when it comes to her personal work, the world is her oyster.
BY JONATHAN DURBIN • PHOTOGRAPHY BY HARLEY WEIR
Harley Weir has a genius for intimacy. Celebrated for her ability to capture romantic, dreamlike images of her subjects, the young English photographer has become one of fashion’s most in-demand talents, shooting editorial commissions for French Vogue, Pop, Document, i-D, and Dazed and Confused, and lensing campaigns for the likes of Balenciaga and Calvin Klein.
Weir’s tender, often uncomfortably vulnerable personal work is currently on exhibit at the FOAM Museum in Amsterdam. Titled “Boundaries,” the solo show features a selection of the 28-year-old’s magazine portraiture alongside documentary photos taken during travels to conflict zones, including those she took on the border between Jerusalem and the West Bank when visiting Israel with her sister in 2012. “I’d known a little bit about the wall but hadn’t seen anything that so obviously described the state of the world, how dark it can be,” she says. “After that, I decided to explore borders, and I did a few different projects.”
That endeavor culminated in a series she shot last fall at the Calais Jungle, the notorious refugee camp in northern France. Weir focused on documenting the Jungle’s makeshift homes over three days shortly before the French government demolished the camp in October.
“Everyone said it was the worst refugee camp they’d ever been to, but I was astonished by how beautiful it was and how kind the people there were,” she says. “I felt like I should do them some justice — take images that showed that without harming them.” Her pictures are a singular and compelling record of the European refugee crisis, making evident the desperation and hope of the Jungle denizens’ hardscrabble living spaces. The photos place human suffering in the present tense: This is how it is. (The images were collected in Weir’s first book, a limited-edition release called Homes, all proceeds from which were donated to a French charity that defends the human rights of refugees.)
Weir says it was a conscious decision to photograph only the camp’s shelters, not its residents. “People were excited to have me there,” she says. “They were very hospitable: ‘Come into my tent and have some tea; I have lunch made for you.’ But I feel like it would have become transactional if, at the end, I had said, ‘Oh, can I take a picture of you now?’ It would have ruined the whole idea of having a sacred and precious interaction. It would feel like stealing from them.”
Raised in southwest London, Weir began honing her craft at an early age, using one of her parents’ old film cameras along with disposables to snap pics of friends and family members. (She says she originally wanted to be an artist or an actress, but “neither of those worked out for me.”) She counts Sally Mann, Jock Sturges, and David LaChapelle among her early influences, recalling a picture she drew for a middle school art class of one of LaChapelle’s portraits. “[My teacher] said, ‘See me after school about that drawing you did.’ I thought, ‘She’s going to tell me it’s great!’ Instead, she said, ‘This is disgusting! Do you realize what she’s holding?’ The woman in the photo was holding two dildos. I was like, ‘Oh.’ I didn’t register it, because I was twelve.”
Eventually, Weir’s Flickr feed brought her work to the attention of magazine editors, leading to a job shooting for Vice when she was eighteen. She went on to study fine art at London’s Central Saint Martins, where she worked in film and mixed media, graduating in 2010. Her skill at conveying emotion through understated shots earned her a fan in Grace Wales Bonner, with whom she has collaborated on projects in Senegal and India, as well as Demna Gvasalia, head designer at Vetements and creative director at Balenciaga. Weir photographed Balenciaga’s most recent campaign, stark images of models Grace Bol, Shujing Zhou, and Eliza Douglas clad in the house’s stocking boots.
As FOAM’s exhibition website notes, the photographer insists she’s not out to make “statements,” but that her work tends to address, if not transgress, boundaries. “The whole idea of taking a picture of someone else is realizing a lot of boundaries you have to work through,” she explains. That instinct has occasionally led to mild controversy: Weir’s campaign photos for Calvin Klein included an upskirt image of actress Klara Kristin, and Instagram deleted her account — and eventually restored it, with apologies — last September after she posted a nude from an i-D shoot featuring a model with menstrual blood on her thighs.
But neither is the photographer out to shock. Rather, her skill lies in discovering the unexpected in the ordinary, making the strange seem familiar and the familiar strange. The subtle emotion that Weir teases out in her work takes on an outsize resonance, whether in her commercial fashion shoots, documentary series, or other art projects. “Photography allows me to figure stuff out about the world,” she says.
That’s evident in her next book, out in May, called Paintings. Among her most personal endeavors, it features a series of shots of walls, unadorned except for paint, captured on her travels and during fashion shoots. “People were what originally attracted me to photography,” she explains. “But I fell a little out of love with the idea of taking pictures of people — telling someone what to do, this transactional idea, the question of consent and ‘Who does the image belong to?’ It exhausted me. So this book is really simple. The gist of it is that it’s about me falling back in love with photography by not taking pictures of people. It’s one of the purest projects I’ve ever done.”
These hyper-edited boutiques deliver a world of unexpected finds
By Heather Summerville
This tucked-away destination on E. 11th Street deals in the handpicked and the unique — and is the size of a walk-in closet. Robin Weiss, an alum of the much-loved Brooklyn boutique Butter, keeps Welcome Shoppe packed to bursting with a combination of international labels (Faliero Sarti scarves from Italy, hand-embroidered tops and tunics by Pero in India, workwear-inspired designs by Kapital from Japan) and little-known stateside designers (Alice Waese jewelry and perfect basics by CP Shades). She acquires pieces in single or small-batch buys — meaning there’s little chance of running into an outfit double on the street. Don’t miss the wall of home goods (embroidered blankets by Khadi and Co.) and baby gifts (Indego Africa stuffed animals) in back.
36 East 11th Street, Manhattan, welcomeshoppe.com, 917-548-3224
Ten Thousand Things
When founders David Rees and Ron Anderson shuttered their Tribeca store last July after nearly three decades, they planned to focus solely on designing their jewelry collection. To the relief of their cult following, the retail respite didn’t take: In November, the duo took over a space on Ludlow that’s a sixth the size of their last store. Expect them to change up the interior — currently lined in sheets of plywood, with bespoke jewelry cases cut from century-old wood beams — drastically and often, with a concise edit of new hits (tiny hoop earrings, the “stirrup holder” necklace) next to long-time favorites (clustered stone earrings, tons of opals). They’ll also host a rotating roster of fellow designers, starting with Ariana Boussard-Reifel and Matthew Swope.
153 Ludlow Street, Manhattan,tenthousandthingsnyc.com, 212-352-1333
Green Fingers Market
For years, plant artist Satoshi Kawamoto has created installations for cool-kid retailers like Freemans Sporting Club and Madewell. The front of his New York store Green Fingers Market (the only stateside outpost of his Japanese plant-shop empire) looks like a Tim Burton–esque urban garden, with dozens of tiny succulents arranged to mimic a sprawling lawn, and climbing ivy interlaced with imported giftables. And hidden behind the register is the first (maybe only) vintage clothing speakeasy in the city. Operated by two notable vendors, Foremost and Strongarm C&S Co., the treasure trove features an awesomely oddball mix of classic American workwear (rows of Coach bags, racks of worn-in denim jackets, stacks of Levi’s) and Eighties street gear (Run-D.M.C. Adidas sweatshirts, logo tees). Think of the hodgepodge array as urban garden wear.
5 Rivington Street, Manhattan, greenfingers.jp, 646-964-4420
The perfect leather jacket is an elusive thing: If the length is right, the shoulders are too tight; if the shoulders are right, the sleeves are too short. But a trip to this Lower East Side shop-stashed-behind-another-shop (an outpost of the London rock ’n’ roll jeweler the Great Frog), where biker jackets come made-to-measure and Iggy Pop and Johnny Thunders tees line the walls, will take months of fitting room failures out of the shopping equation. Sit down with Chuck Guarino (look for the tall guy with the Richard Hell hair) or his wife/partner Elisa Maldonado (a Joan Jett doppelgänger) to pick your leather (pony hair to kangaroo), lining (over thirty to choose from), and hardware (silver, antiqued, brass, or black) — and a custom, hand-cut jacket arrives in two to four weeks. Can’t wait that long? Check out the couple’s off-the-rack lines: Spade Label (starting at $595) and Terminal Collection (starting at $395).
72 Orchard Street, Manhattan, thecast.com, 212-228-2020
Vincent and Marianna Martinelli honor tradition while breaking boundaries
Written by Alice Hines • Photograph by Michael Waring • Styling by Louise Sturcken
Vincent Martinelli, visual director for the jewelry and home furnishings store Love Adorned, has a knack for accessories. “I end up looking like an old Japanese woman,” he says. Marianna, community director at the Wing, a women-only coworking space and club, loves simple and black: “Anything Everlane.” Both love cooking and painting (for her, birds and still lifes; for him, outer space). Some things are traditional. “I got down on both knees,” Vincent says. In September, the pair tied the knot.
Marianna on Vincent’s style:
“I’d call it Earth Mother.” Vincent on Marianna’s style:
“She’s like if Annie Hall were from Berlin. A little sharper, faster, sleeker.”
Vincent’s favorite outfit of Marianna’s:
“She has this Isabel Marant bouclé hoodie. I wish she wore it all the time — I might be jealous of it.”
Marianna’s favorite outfit of Vincent’s:
“He has a couple of short-sleeved tees in indigo. His tattoos are nice to look at.”
One piece you share:
Marianna: “He’s got a collection of bandannas that he taught me how to wear.” Vincent: “Tied around the side, knotted in front, peeking out of a pocket.”
By Roxanne Fequiere • Photography by Beth Garrabrant
Meet Your Maker Mona Kowalska I’m that person who wants to look good, wants to look put together,” says designer Mona Kowalska of her own personal style. “But I kind of want to figure it out once and be done with it.” Of course, that hardly means her look is static. “I hope that I’m evolving over time,” she says. “I see my desires shifting, and you want that reflected in your work.”
Now in her nineteenth year at the helm of her downtown New York–based label, A Détacher, Kowalska has found that this sentiment resonates with customers, who return each season to purchase prints and Peruvian knits in ever-changing iterations. (“In each collection, I try to do something we’ve never done before.”) They also hang on to her older pieces for so long that even Kowalska is sometimes surprised to see them years after the fact.
Raised in Poland until the age of nine, followed by Baltimore and education and work stints in Italy and France, Kowalska wasn’t an instant New York City convert. “It took me a really long time to like New York,” she admits. “It’s really not until I started my business that I felt like I found a community of people and saw where I fit into the city.” Today, she splits her life between her home in Clinton Hill and the A Détacher store and studio in Nolita. She maintains a four-day workweek, leaving her with three days to read — currently Thom Jones’s short-story collection The Pugilist at Rest, after a long spate of crime novels — relax, and let inspiration take her where it may. Another weekend hobby? Exercise — although you won’t see Kowalska’s preferred fitness wardrobe on the runway anytime soon. “I exercise in long johns,” she explains. “I buy them in Chinatown, $10 for a set. That works for me.”
Three city style influencers reveal their favorite local spots
Written by Alice Hines • Photography by Rebecca Greenfield • Styling by Louise Sturcken
Audrey Gelman Cofounder, The Wine
I go to Forlini’s (93 Baxter Street, Manhattan, forlinisnyc.com) for dinner with friends every Friday. Hibino in Cobble Hill (333 Henry Street, Brooklyn, hibino-brooklyn.com) is the yummiest, healthiest dinner in Brooklyn. 21 Club (21 West 52nd Street, Manhattan, 21club.com) for special occasions. Montero’s (73 Atlantic Avenue, Brooklyn) does a classic Shirley Temple. I’m not into the artisanal cherry kind — I like it full of high-fructose corn syrup.
Vanity Projects (99 Chrystie Street, #2F, Manhattan, vanityprojectsnyc.com) can turn anything under the sun into the coolest nail art you’ve seen. Sean Gallagher at Serge Normant (336 West 23rd Street, Manhattan, sergenormantatjohnfrieda.com) has been doing my hair for two decades. I met him when I was a flower girl in my aunt’s wedding at age eight. He is the master of subtle highlights and has never steered me wrong. For a traditional Chinese massage, Wu Lim Services (179 Grand Street, Manhattan, greatchinesemassage.com) has saved my life about three hundred times.
Feit (2 Prince Street and 11A Greenwich Avenue, Manhattan, feitdirect.com) makes the comfiest hand-sewn sneakers and boots. The Mysterious Bookshop (58 Warren Street, Manhattan, mysteriousbookshop.com) has an amazing selection of true crime. And Mazzone Hardware in Carroll Gardens (470 Court Street, Brooklyn, mazzonehardware.com) is family owned and stocks everything you could ever imagine, including a great selection of plants, flowers, and trees
Aura Friedman, Colorist at Sally Hershberger
Ph7 Nail Couture in Williamsburg (227 Grand Street, Brooklyn, ph7nailcouture.com) has the best massage chairs — they’re super strong! Love the Cortado at Black Brick Coffee in Williamsburg (300 Bedford Avenue, Brooklyn, blackbrickcoffee.com). D.O.C. Wine Shop (147 Broadway, Brooklyn, docwineshop.com) carries my fave organic vodka, called Crop, which is cucumber infused. Also, they are friendly and super knowledgeable about wine.
I’m friends with the owner of Loosie Rouge (91 South 6th Street, Brooklyn, loosierouge.com), and the music, vibe, and cocktails — there’s a tequila one that I like — are excellent. Chef Olivier Palazzof made the most incredible beignet cake for my birthday. They definitely go out of their way to please their patrons!
At Cafe Mogador (101 St. Marks Place # 1, Manhattan, cafemogador.com) I always order the halloumi eggs or the Middle Eastern breakfast: healthy-ish, hearty, and delicious. For dinner, Kiki’s (130 Division Street, Manhattan, no website): it’s very authentic, with great service and delicious traditional Greek dishes. My favorites are maroulosalata, saganaki, and grilled octopus.
Pilgrim (70 Orchard Street, Manhattan, pilgrimnyc.com) has the best Chanel, Prada, and Comme des Garçons, and great Nineties looks. Cecilia Wong skin care (224 Fifth Avenue, Floor 3, Manhattan, ceciliawongskincare.com) uses all-natural organic products. She’s very gentle and knowledgeable, and I always leave looking refreshed.
Travis or Tim Rogers at Sally Hershberger | Tim Rogers NoMad Salon (25 West 26th Street, 2nd Floor, and 17 East 71st Street, 5th Floor, Manhattan, sallyhershberger.com) for hair. These men take pride in what they do and really care about making their clients feel great. Travis is better for an edgier look and Tim’s work can be more feminine and straightforward — I like to alternate.
Dashwood Books (33 Bond Street #A, Manhattan, dashwoodbooks.com) has an excellent selection of magazines and art/photography books. I got some of my favorites there, including The Alchemy of Beauty by Bob Recine. The Alchemist’s Kitchen (21 East 1st Street, Manhattan, thealchemistskitchen.com) has great spiritual finds, sage, and other smudges. I love all that holistic hippie-dippie stuff.
Melia Marden Owner/chef, the Smile
I actually love the coffee at the Smile (26 Bond Street, Manhattan, thesmilenyc.com) and Smile to Go (22 Howard Street, Manhattan, thesmilenyc.com). We use Counter Culture, and they have a great barista training facility right near Smile to Go. I start my workday with a skim cappuccino. I think I’m the last person in the city who still drinks skim milk.
I like Discovery Wines on Avenue B (16 Avenue B, Manhattan, discoverywines.com). The staff are really nice and give good offbeat recommendations. I have a date with my husband to go get the perfect martinis at Angel’s Share (8 Stuyvesant Street, Manhattan, angelssharenyc.com) the second I stop breastfeeding.
I go to Gene Sarcinello at Takamichi Hair (263 Bowery, Manhattan, takamichihair.com). He’s really good with wavy/curly hair. I followed him from another salon because he’s the only stylist I’ve ever been to where I actually like the way my hair looks right after it’s cut.
You can’t go in Bonnie Slotnik Cookbooks (28 East 2nd Street, Manhattan, bonnieslotnickcookbooks.com) and not buy something — she has an amazing selection of beautiful and eccentric vintage cookbooks as well as vintage menus and housewares. Perfect for gifts. If you have no idea what to get someone, you will always find something at Mast Books (66 Avenue A, Manhattan, mastbooks.com). A highly curated selection of vintage and new books with a focus on striking cover art. They have a small but very interesting selection of children’s books as well as first editions and prints.
I feel like places like Odd Eye (524 East 5th Street, Manhattan, oddeyenyc.com) don’t open often anymore — two young guys selling a very personal take on mostly Seventies-to-Nineties furniture, tableware, and oddities. It feels like a passion project, and unfortunately it’s very close to my house, so I’ll probably buy way too much stuff there. At Mulberry Iconic Magazines (188 Mulberry Street, Manhattan, iconicmagazines.com) they have every magazine you could possibly want, including Cherry Bombe and World of Interiors (the U.K. version).
Credo (9 Prince Street, Manhattan, credobeauty.com) specializes in clean ethical beauty products — I like that it’s a limited selection so you don’t get overwhelmed with a million products. Star Shoe & Watch Repair (74 Bleecker Street, Manhattan, shoerepairshopnyc.com) is very reliable and they have a great classic shoe repair interior. I take all my new flats to get rubber soles put on so they don’t wear out instantly.
Opening Ceremony and Justin Peck team up for a Trump-era ballet of resistance
By Priya Rao
As activists took to the streets in protest of Donald Trump’s
attacks on women’s rights and attempts to ban entry to the U.S. by
nationals of Iran, Syria, Yemen, and four other nations, Opening Ceremony founders Humberto Leon and Carol Lim demonstrated their disapproval in a quieter — though no less potent — manner. In lieu of a spring 2017 runway show, the two designers collaborated with Justin Peck and the New York City Ballet on the debut of The Times Are Racing.
The new work by Peck portrays chance encounters between strangers on city streets, set to music from electronic experimentalist Dan Deacon’s 2012 album, America. Leon and Lim designed costumes for the production that included a series of shirts, dubbed the Action Capsule, emblazoned with words like “Defy,” “Protest,” “Shout,” “Unite,” and “Fight.” The dancers were also adorned with jeans, overalls, and graphic hoodies that drew inspiration from nineteenth-century photographs of immigrants arriving on Ellis Island. Each performer wore a unique outfit, underscoring Peck’s theme of diversity.
“I researched each dancer through social media to get a sense of their personality and so I could design with them in mind,” explains Leon. “The audience can see their individuality come through while still appreciating the overall collective aesthetic. The idea of inserting fashion into culture is something we have championed for a long time now, and we wanted to share this experience with our audience.”
Beyond the capsule collection, Opening Ceremony’s spring line, which is currently on sale via the see-now-buy-now-wear-now model that the designers adopted last season, also featured collaborations with Alpha, Ben Davis, Gitman Bros, Rains, and Dickies. Additionally, prints across kimono jackets and cowl-neck dresses were inspired by the works of W.W. Denslow, illustrator of the first edition of L. Frank Baum’s The Wonderful Wizard of Oz: A fantastic storybook plays out across fringed pieces, as interlacing hands pluck roses, children explore gardens, and monkeys learn to fly.
Leon previously worked with Peck on NYCB’s 2015 piece New Blood; Peck also choreographed Opening Ceremony’s spring 2016 show. The designers are no strangers to activism, either: Opening Ceremony registered attendees to voteat their fall 2016 show, which featured speeches on transgender rights and the need for affordable healthcare.
Proceeds from sales of the Action Capsule shirts will go to the ACLU. “Opening Ceremony has always been a forum for free speech, individuality, understanding,” says Leon. “We will never be silent about these issues, and you’ll continue hearing more from us.”
Something unexpected happened in the wake of the post–Hurricane Sandy reconstruction in the Rockaways. While longtime residents and businesses worked to rebuild the community, a new wave of young, creative entrepreneurs began putting down roots, helping to create a new Rockaway Beach. Among them is Abra Boero, whose year-and-a-half-old lifestyle boutique, Off Season, is the first spark in a retail scene that’s set to ignite.
Boero, a born-and-raised Manhattanite, never pictured herself living anywhere but the city — until she started visiting Rockaway Beach on the regular back in 2012, before the hurricane struck. Weekend trips turned into week-long vacations, and she moved to the peninsula permanently after meeting and marrying Domenic Boero (known around town as the unofficial mayor of the boardwalk), then the general manager and now co-owner of the beloved snack shack Rippers. “Something just clicked for me here,” she explains. “It’s a different type of beach scene, not California-boho or East Coast–preppy. It’s urban. It’s gritty. It reminds me of my childhood...but there’s a beach.”
Boero decided to funnel her energy and a decade of fashion-industry experience — she worked on Adidas’s collaboration team and headed up Chloé’s North American ready-to-wear division — into Off Season, her take on an “urban beach boutique.” She stocks a covetable mix of beauty products (locally made Goldie’s sunscreen), beach gear (custom-designed Turkish towels, blankets and bags made in collaboration with the Mexican design collective POCOAPOCO), and tongue-in-cheek souvenirs (the infamous “boobie mug”).
But the main draw is her clothing line, also called Off Season, which she created with veteran designer Judi Rosen. The two have pulled off a promise made by many designers but achieved by few: clothes that seamlessly go from beach to street — and vice versa. By blending natural fabrics, such as cotton and linen gauzes, with just-structured-enough shapes, they’ve made a collection whose pieces fit right in to a weekday wardrobe.
When Boero isn’t lining up the shop’s next guest designer-in-residence or hosting dinner parties in its back garden, she’s fulfilling her duties as Rockaway Beach’s self-appointed cheerleader-in-chief. (See sidebar for her tips on where she hangs out off the clock.)
92-12 Rockaway Beach Boulevard, Rockaway Beach, Queens, offseasonnyc.com, check site for current store hours.
Boero’s Beach Guide
Where to shop...
“You have to go to Zingara Vintage; the crowning glory is owner Erin Silver’s 1960s/1970s terry cloth collection, which she painstakingly restores. End of the A — named because we’re the last stop on the A train — was the first retail pioneer out here. It started as a mobile fashion truck, but now they also have a store that’s great for small gifts.”
Zingara Vintage: 202 Beach 91st Street, zingaravintage.rocks (year round); End of the A: 437 Beach 129th Street, Belle Harbor, endofthea.com, 718-490-1412 (year round)
Where to eat and drink...
“God bless La Fruteria’s hippie egg breakfast sandwich — so simple, so delicious. At Rippers, it’s a toss-up what I love more: their fish torta or my husband, who makes them. Frozens, which is local-speak for a piña colada served in a Styrofoam cup with a cherry on top, make Connolly’s Bar a regular detour. If you’re sneaky, you can take it to go. And a midweek stop at Rockaway Beach Surf Club/Tacoway Beach for a fish taco and a Modelo always feels right.
“I’m at Uma’s weekly for fresh salads and plov, a beautiful rice dish. Chicks To Go is exactly what it sounds like: Peruvian-style rotisserie chicken and sides — plantains, green rice — you can grab and take home…or to the train or to the beach. People eat it everywhere.
“I would eat at Whit’s End over every trendy hot spot in the city. The owner, Whitney Aycock, whose wild-child antics have made him a local celebrity, serves the best food on the peninsula. Rockaway Beach Bakery is slated to open this summer, and I am counting the days. Everything Tracy Obolsky — a Cookshop alum — does is legit.”
La Fruteria: Beach 97th Street Concessions, 347-721-4610 (summer only); Rippers: 86-01 Shore Front Parkway, 718-634-3034 (summer only); Connolly’s Bar: 155 Beach 95th Street, 718-474-2374 (summer only); Rockaway Beach Surf Club (year round)/Tacoway Beach (summer only): 302 Beach 87th Street, rockawaybeachsurfclub.com; Uma’s: 92-07 Rockaway Beach Boulevard, 718-318-9100 (year round); Chicks To Go: 97-02 Rockaway Beach Boulevard, chicks-togo.com, 718-945-4100 (year round); Whit’s End: 16702 Rockaway Beach Boulevard, whitsendnyc.com (year round); Rockaway Beach Bakery: opening soon
Where to crash...
“Since Playland Motel closed, places to stay have been tough to come by. Domenic and I are fixing up the apartment above Off Season to be a hotel extension of the shop, bookable on Airbnb as the Above Season Beach Loft. It should be ready by summer.”
Sasha Lane’s gritty breakout performance last year in Andrea Arnold’s American Honey announced her arrival. But with a full slate of projects on the horizon, she’s forging her own path.
By Eve Barlow • Photography by Olivia Malone • Stying by Sean Knight
There’s a kid outside a drive-thru Starbucks kicking out a pair of box-fresh Stan Smiths in the dense urban sprawl of Mid-City, Los Angeles. She could be 14, she could be 25. Wearing an oversize denim shirt and knee socks, her dreads tied atop her head in a scrunchie, she chews gum and texts on an iPhone. She has no bag, which suggests she lives close by. A pack of Camels pokes out of her shirt pocket. There’s an elastic band around her wrist. “Do you mind if I smoke?” she asks. New to the area, she searches for a place to perch. In Mid-City, there are no fancy cafés or pretty parks. Spotting a brick wall by a grassy knoll, she takes a look around to make sure it isn’t private property.
Sasha Lane hardly paints a picture of a star already discovered by Hollywood, after her lauded performance last year in British filmmaker Andrea Arnold’s gritty indie American Honey. That said, intriguing pieces of her puzzle are inked on her small frame. Across the knuckles of her left hand is a tattoo of the word metta, a concept central to Buddhist tradition. “It means love and kindness, wishing well to others as I do myself,” she explains. “Then I have my siblings’ birth dates — the last two digits of the years they were born.” She points to her pinkie, where a friend applied a hollow heart in a bathroom stall during a music video shoot. The inside of her ring finger bears the digits 071. “Usually magazine crews name themselves after the route they take,” she says. “We were the 071 crew.”
A phenomenon of impoverished America, magazine crews exploit young workers by sending them out door-to-door selling subscriptions for months on end. Lane was never a member of a real mag crew, but she talks like she was, after playing one over 1,200 miles of travel and 54 days of guerrilla shooting for her breakout role in American Honey.
In 2015, Arnold discovered Lane on a beach in Miami, where Lane had gone on spring break from Texas State University in San Marcos, where she was studying psychology. Lane hung back for an extra week, intrigued by whether Arnold’s offer to make her the lead in her next film was legitimate. “I threatened Andrea not to kill me,” she laughs, recalling how concerned she was about trusting someone she’d just met.
Released last September, American Honey is an epic road movie revolving around Lane’s character, Star, who flees a life of poverty, abuse, and despair by joining up with a crew led by dysfunctional partners Jake (Shia LaBeouf) and Krystal (Riley Keough). In the vein of Larry Clark’s Kids, it captures the language, rhythm, and emotional spectrum of today’s disaffected youth. It works in part because the cast lived the life even once the cameras were off. “We were all homies hanging out,” Lane says. “We had this whole mag crew mind, like, ‘Are you down or not?’ ” Much of the cast, including Lane, had no prior acting experience. Arnold, she says, “kept telling me the reason she chose me was because of who I am — that naturalness. At a point I was like, ‘Fuck it,’ and blindly jumped in.”
Lane’s blithe approach notwithstanding, her performance carries the movie. She has already won a British Independent Film Award for Best Actress, and is nominated for a Film Independent Spirit Award for lead actress. (American Honey and Arnold also received nominations.) Her empowered portrayal of Star was an extreme version of her own reality: She’s a former waitress and athlete whose parents divorced when she was young. “I don’t like to express my stuff,” Lane says. “You can expose yourself if there’s something greater to it than just helping yourself. I’m not really good at helping myself, you know? But others, yes. So that’s the perfect outlet for me.”
When it comes to Lane’s own background, the details remain sketchy. Born in Houston of mixed parentage (her mother is from New Zealand, her father African American), she’s said she grew up poor in the Dallas suburb of Frisco. She talks about a brother two years her senior but is guarded when it comes to discussing her other siblings or her parents, revealing little beyond acknowledging their existence. Conversing with her is intense, even when she’s enthusing over Jaden Smith’s music or her favorite TV show, Shameless: “The first time I watched that I was like, ‘Your shit’s crazy too, man? Awesome!’ ” Her eyes are glassy — either a sign of fatigue or a hint that she’s burdened with emotions — and often say more than what comes out of her mouth.
“It’s such a blessing how I was raised and where I came from, everything I’ve gone through, good and bad,” she says. “It made me who I am, and that’s really beautiful. That whole Cinderella rags-to-riches shit has fucking pissed me off. [The media] use words like ‘destitute.’ Well, good job looking up that source, homie.” She tuts and lights another cigarette. “I have such mixed emotions about it. I don’t want anyone to put a label on it. At the end of the day, I was always gonna be aight. I know how to live and I don’t wanna be Hollywood’s charity case.” Having relocated to Los Angeles, Lane has landed several roles. She’ll appear opposite Chloë Grace Moretz as a teen forced into gay conversion therapy in The Miseducation of Cameron Post, based on the Emily M. Danforth coming-of-age novel. She’ll also star as a fugitive with psychic powers in director Paul J. Franklin’s upcoming Hunting Lila.
Still, she’s found it difficult to adjust to the gossip mill, which has panted around her rumored offscreen romance with LaBeouf. And she’s treading carefully into the world of fashion. (She recently started a campaign for Louis Vuitton with Bruce Weber.) “I don’t enjoy photo shoots, and I don’t wanna be compromised,” she says. One particular feature in GQ, for which she was photographed near-naked on a couch, renders her furious. “If you’re gonna do an interview with me, why the fuck are we focusing on if I’m dating someone? Why aren’t you asking me what my mind is like or what I think about? They’ll ask, ‘How much did you make?’ Would you ask that to any other person?”
The biggest adjustment since her discovery by Arnold, however, has been in her head. (Lane has previously revealed that she struggles with mental health issues: “It’s a blessing and a curse to have to deal with these issues in the spotlight.”) She points to a palm tree to explain how new heights have added both new possibilities and new expectations: “To go from thinking that treetop is as high as you can go to someone saying, ‘You can touch anything’? That’s amazing, but it’s scary, ’cause I was used to my box.” It’s also forced her to face the harsh realities of Hollywood, including being refused jobs because her skin is either too dark or not dark enough. “You wanna put me as a strong girl in a picture, but sometimes I don’t feel like that,” she says. “Why can’t we show something that’s more raw? We pretend like everything’s perfect and then we wonder why someone does a movie and then kills themselves.”
How has her family reacted to her film career? “They all know I’m about it,” she says. “I don’t think they understand how much it means to me or how hard it can be. Which sucks sometimes. When I first moved out here my dad asked, ‘What are you gonna do if you lose money?’ I can’t blame him, because where we came from — are you fucking kidding me? You’re gonna risk all that you’ve been through for something that doesn’t seem real?”
Lane insists that money is not a motivation, and that she’s far happier living close to Koreatown than in the glitz of Beverly Hills. She’s found a Hollywood veteran wise to the fame game in former co-star and now close friend Keough (whose grandfather, Elvis Presley, offered more than his share of object lessons in its dangers). Arnold maintains contact, and Lane’s managers are the producers from American Honey.
Desiree Akhavan, the director of The Miseducation of Cameron Post, reveals a maternal pride when asked about Lane. “How often does someone explode overnight and deal with it as beautifully and elegantly as Sasha?” she says. “It’s an intense situation. Sasha is so endearing. You wanna protect her.”
Lane, though, resents any notion that someone else has created her opportunities. “Coming from where I came from, I used to be really cold,” she says. “I was always an understanding person, but you could not get an emotion out of me. I was not gonna show you that.” She eventually got over that, she says, on her own, not through acting roles. “Sometimes I get annoyed when people think that’s the only way. You gotta fuckin’ work on it.”
The interview done, Lane dashes across the road to await the delivery of a stove to her new home, with barely even a parting goodbye.
“I’ve never seen anyone quite like Sasha. I was instantly charmed by her,” Akhavan tells me later. “Good fashion is telling a story without words. Her face does that, but she doesn’t pour it over you [like] a lot of people who are damaged as a result of their experiences. There’s a maturity that hasn’t got in the way of her fun, and it’s a fascinating juxtaposition.”
Remembering the Village Voice‘s fashion insert Vue, which brought together some of New York’s top photographers and designers for six issues of glorious anarchy
By Danny King
This is the Village Voice’s second full issue dedicated to fashion — but the paper’s history of fashion coverage runs far deeper than that. From 1985 to ’86, the Voice published Vue, a style magazine that ran six times within the paper, featuring an array of photographers better known for their gallery work than for fashion pictures, among them Nan Goldin, Larry Fink, William Wegman, Gilles Peress, and Philip-Lorca diCorcia.
The visual side of Vue was spearheaded by Yolanda Cuomo, a graphic designer whose work would go on to encompass collaborations with Twyla Tharp as well as projects with the Richard Avedon and Diane Arbus estates. Cuomo was handpicked to art-direct the magazine by the Voice’s fashion editor, Mary Peacock, who oversaw Vue. “My thing was, the Voice was about great writers,” recalls Cuomo. “And so I wanted [Vue] to be about great photography.”
The magazine was shaped by Peacock’s playful, avant-garde approach to style. Peacock edited and sometimes wrote for the Voice’s weekly style section, “V.” In a column on jumpsuits, she referenced the front-zipping uniforms of George Orwell’s 1984, noting, “[When] it comes to sex, there’s nothing you can get out of faster than an outfit held together by only one zipper.” Her sensibility shone through in Vue’s imagery, which mixed the aesthetic edge of Soho galleries with the anarchic whimsy of Pee-wee’s Playhouse.
The preview issue, which ran 32 pages in the Voice’s November 5, 1985, edition, was called View and combined one-off features (like Fink’s black-and-white series covering a stylish evening at the Palladium nightclub) with what would become recurring elements: “Storefront Couture,” profiles of new designers in the city; “Shop Till You Drop,” a shopping-guide primer on “NYC’s favorite sport”; and “Ask Sister Soignee,” a spin-off of Cynthia Heimel’s Problem Lady column, in which the author of books like Sex Tips for Girls fed dryly humorous advice to fashion-curious readers. (“Lurking beneath your correct prose I can sense a man quaking with anxiety,” Heimel wrote in response to a husband worried about a “strange device [he] found in [his] wife’s lingerie drawer.”) But much of the writing in Vue applied the Voice’s strength in cultural criticism to fashion. In “Why Clothes Are ‘Silly,’ ” Jeff Weinstein — then the Voice’s art editor and restaurant critic — concluded: “Clothing is dangerous to treat seriously, because sex and pleasure have frightened the history of ideas for centuries.”
Vue was born in part as a publishing mandate, Peacock says, to help bring in ad dollars. Nevertheless, she and Cuomo were left with complete editorial control. “Total freedom” is how Cuomo sums it up; adds Peacock, “It was very ambitious and arty, but it wasn’t ad-bait. Yolanda and I just went off the rails in terms of what [publishing] wanted.”
Perhaps because of this independence, many who worked on Vue look back on the experience with fondness. Sylvia Plachy, the longtime Voice staff photographer, joyfully describes photo shoots she conducted with a near-total lack of oversight. “They left it up to me,” she recalls of “POOF! Your Skirt Is Full,” for which she photographed beskirted models in Brooklyn’s Cypress Hills Cemetery. “It was a very unusual way of doing fashion; the whole thing was quite freeing,” she says. “I could have made a whole style out of photographing fashion in cemeteries.” For “The Dish on Hats,” Plachy captured celebrated French actress Isabelle Huppert wearing a variety of toppers in a friend’s home on Central Park West. “No publicity people, no nothing,” Plachy remembers. “With each hat, she became a different person. An actress is the best model, because they can become people.”
For Richard Corman — famous for his portraits of Madonna, Jean-Michel Basquiat, and many others — the joy of Vue was Cuomo’s willingness to break barriers. “None of us were necessarily fashion photographers,” he says. “It just brought a different sensibility.” Given the directive to “do a story on shoes,” he got inventive. For “Investigations of a Dog,” he shot at sidewalk level and brought warmth and surprise to high-end footwear by including expressive canines in the frame. “I wanted this to be a piece that said something about New York, which was such a creative carnival,” he says.
A remarkable boldness can be found, too, in “Masculine/Feminine,” a series for which Goldin photographed women, some pregnant, wearing lingerie in the Russian and Turkish Baths on East 10th Street. “The publisher was like, ‘This is really controversial. I don’t know if we can run the Nan shoot,’ ” Cuomo recalls. “And I said, ‘Look, if the Voice can’t do controversy, who can?’ ” It ended up being a thrill, she says: “Even Howard Stern went on the radio and said how the portfolio was disgusting.”
The risks taken with the striking photography and off-center design have given Vue a reputation that has outlasted its abbreviated lifespan. “I don’t really care about fashion,” Cuomo admits. “For me, it’s just a theater for the imagination. And that was what Vue was like.”
“I was surprised that it stopped after just six issues,” Corman says, “but it makes those issues even more iconic and memorable.” And, he notes, nothing like other fashion magazines of the time. “There was nothing traditional about it, and I think that’s what was kind of great. In terms of the styling and the sensibility, it feels 21st-century. I think, in some ways, today it’s more relevant than it ever was.”
Resistance is what you feel, what you do, and, sometimes, what you wear.
Photography by Vanina Sorrenti • Styling by Laura Ferrara
Wearing your heart on your sleeve takes on a new meaning with these T-shirts, which, like many of the tees in this story, broadcast messages of empowerment while benefitting organizations that are doing the real work.
Photography by Sylvia Simon