Photography by Ruo Bing Li
Styling by Krisana Sotelo @ The Only Agency
Model Alexandra Elizabeth @ The Society

Silk green and black print dress and silk black belt worn over the shoulder by Marc Jacobs, Vinyl body corset by Alexander Wang, Crystal headband and kitten heels by Tom Ford, Spandex liquid leggings Stylist own

Sofa – Cloud by Richard Shemtov, Table – Double Zero by Richard Shemtov

Green and black print, silk dress and black silk belt worn over the shoulder by Marc Jacobs, Vinyl body corset by Alexander Wang, Crystal headband and kitten heels by Tom Ford, Spandex liquid leggings Stylist own

Sofa – Cloud by Richard Shemtov, Table – Double Zero by Richard Shemtov

Black velvet embroidered cape by Erdem, black latex cape + crystal and latex belt worn over the neck by Tableaux Vivents, crystal earrings and hair clip by Area

Mirror – Ledge by Michael Solis, Desk – Halo by Karim Rashid

Crystal embroidered colorful dress by Tom Ford, clear vinyl jacket by Philipp Plein, crystal embroidered kitten heels by Tom Ford, green spandex liquid full bodysuit stylist own, pastel pink pop socks by Maria La Rosa

Dining Table and Chairs – Margot by Sarah Fels, Stool – Jedi by Richard Shemtov

Crystal embroidered colorful dress by Tom Ford, clear vinyl jacket by Philipp Plein, crystal embroidered kitten heels by Tom Ford, green spandex liquid full bodysuit stylist own, pastel pink pop socks by Maria La Rosa

Dining Table and Chairs – Margot by Sarah Fels, Stool – Jedi by Richard Shemtov

Green and pink sequin dress with nude body cape by Gucci, Pink spandex leggings stylists own, pink pop socks by Falke, crystal sandal by Area

Sofa – landscape by Nina Edwards Anker

Pastel fur coat by Sies Marjan, turquoise sequin arm bands by DSquared2, purple latex liquid full bodysuit stylist’s own, pink pop socks by Maria La Rosa, crystal sneakers by Gucci

Cabinet – Fu Console by Nick Dine

Grey wool sweater with stones by Christopher Kane, metal mesh skirt worn around the neck by Paco Rabanne

Sofa – Deluxe by Richard Shemtov, Table – Four Forty by Michael Solis

Grey wool sweater with stones by Christopher Kane, metal mesh skirt worn around the neck by Paco Rabanne

Sofa – Deluxe by Richard Shemtov, Table – Four Forty by Michael Solis

Crystal and tulle sheer top by Givenchy, latex skirt with crystals by Tableaux Vivents, blue spandex liquid full bodysuit stylist own, crystal and mesh stockings by Area, vinyl and leather heel by Alexander Wang

Bench – Pipeline by Harry Allen

Iridescent vinyl jacket by Area, mesh nude gloves by Carolina Amato, pink pop socks by Maria La Rosa, crystal multi-colored sneakers by Gucci

Sofa – Stealth by Richard Shemtov

Makeup by Liset Garza @ The Wall Group using MAC Cosmetics
Hair by Yukiko Tajima @See Management
Production by Benjamin Price of LEO Creatives
Fashion Assistants Patrick Surach and Ashley Wooten
Production intern Louis Kang
Special thanks to Aaron Shemtov of Dune, for more information visit:


Kicking off New York Fashion Week, the Richard Bernstein: STARMAKER book launch party was celebrated at PUBLIC ARTS at Public in New York City earlier this month.

The venue walls were plastered with enlarged artwork of and cut outs of Interview Magazine covers spanning from 1972 to 1989. Legendary cover stars came to life on stage in a Studio 54 VIP Room setting while being catered to by a bevy of hunky bus boys. Performers who resembled Divine, Liza Minelli, Halston, Pat Ast, Jerry Hall and Grace Jones danced and partied the night away.

Celebrities in attendance were the creative director of the new Interview Magazine Mel Ottenberg, Pat Cleveland, Halstonette Karen Bjornson, famed Studio 54 publicist Carmen D’Alessio, Gaultier muse Stella Ellis, Angie Everhart, Amanda Lepore, Miss Jay Alexander, Dianne Brill, artist David Croland, Michael Musto, head of Warhol Enterprises Vincent Fremont and Jeffrey Deitch.

The private event was hosted by authors Mauricio and Roger Padilha whose book Richard Bernstein: STARMAKER Andy Warhol’s Cover Artist is now available in all major bookstores worldwide and is published by Rizzoli International Publications Inc. and presented by Alcone Company with FHI-Heat, Oralgen, Svedka and PUBLIC ARTS at Public.

Performers as Liza Minelli and Halston

Performers as Divine, Pat Ast, and Grace Jones

Stella Rose St. Claire

Mel Ottenberg, Stylist and Creative Director of Interview Magazine

John, Ellen, and Rory Trifon, family of Richard Bernstein

Jeffrey Deitch, art dealer and curator, and Mauricio Padilha, co-founder of  MAO Public Relations

Amanda Lepore.

Journalist Michael Musto

Angie Everheart, model and actress

Jonte Moaning, performer, dressed as Grace Jones

Dianne Brill, Queen of New York nightlife

Stylist Wouri Vice

(left) Chris Makos, famed photographer, (center) Shelly Fremont, film director and producer, (right) Vincent Fremont, film producer and head of Warhol Enterprises

Legendary models Karen Bjornson (left) and Pat Cleveland (right)


Drawing fascinating parallels between remixing a classic cocktail and remixing a classic song, the interactive series will travel to select destinations across the country, offering bartenders, influencers and journalists an intimate taste of D’USSE, the cognac category, and its role in both cocktail and music culture. You’ve never tasted Cognac like this before.

Three iconic Masters of their Craft lead the NYC launch sessions:
• Cellar master Michel Casavecchia – fresh from the brand’s home at the historic Chateau de Cognac, the legendary creator of D’USSE XO and D’USSE VSOP will reveal his inspirations behind each expression while offering tailored one-on-one tastings.
9TH WONDER – the Grammy Award-winning producer responsible for hits by Jay-Z, Kendrick Lamar, and Mary J Blige will unveil the fascinating parallels between remixing classic cocktails and tracks through an interactive DJ Masterclass utilizing The World of McIntosh’s renowned sound system
• Legendary Cocktail Expert DEREK BROWN and his team from D.C.’s award-winning Columbia Room, will provide guests with a sonic wave cocktail demonstration showcasing how using a singing bowl to stir cocktails with sound vibrations allows an interpretation of sound through drinks and impacts its flavor. Each of these artistic elements play off the core concept of how altering one simple ingredient – sound, tone, or even spirit base – can change the way something tastes or is perceived.

Monsieur Michel Casavecchia is the Cellar Master of the prestigious Château de Cognac and the creator of both D’USSÉ VSOP and D’USSÉ XO. He is proud to be part of the privileged line of heirs of the Baron Otard, charged with perpetuating the tradition of the knowledge of blending ‘eau-de-vie’ (water of life) into Cognac.

Michel was born in Lorraine, in the eastern part of France to a father with a passion for collecting and enjoying fine Cognac. This passion, which Michel inherited at a young age, has driven him throughout his career. Though he has not followed the traditional path to becoming an elite Cellar Master, Michel’s relentless dedication to Cognac had led him to the Château de Cognac where he has spent more than a decade overseeing the Cognac making process of some of the world’s finest Cognacs.

After ten years as an apprentice at the Château de Cognac learning from his predecessor and refining his craft, Michel received the opportunity to move into the role he has wanted to achieve most of his life. After nearly 20 years as the curator for some of the most prestigious Cognacs in the world, Michel was tasked with developing a new Cognac for Bacardi, D’USSÉ VSOP.

Patrick Douthit, better known as 9th Wonder, is a Grammy award-winning hip hop record producer, record executive, DJ, lecturer, and rapper from Durham, North Carolina, U.S. He began his career as the main producer for the group Little Brother, and has worked with notable musicians including Mary J. Blige, Jay-Z, Drake, Destiny’s Child, and Kendrick Lamar.

As a college professor, 9th is an adjacent hip-hop history professor at Duke University and has held several Artist-In-Residence positions at top universities across the country including University of Pennsylvania, University of Virginia, and Harvard University. Through his positions in academic, 9th seeks to educate students on the history of hip-hop as well as advocate for its future.

Derek Brown is a leading spirits and cocktail expert and president of Drink Company, which owns and operates 2017 Spirited Award winning “Best American Cocktail Bar” Columbia Room as well as PUB, a rotating pop-up bar that’s housed the wildly-popular Miracle on 7th Street, Cherry Blossom PUB and Game of Thrones PUB. Playboy magazine named him as one of “The 10 Entertainers, Thought Leaders and Heroes Who’ll Save Us in 2017.”
A native Washingtonian with deep ties to the city — his great-grandfather was once D.C.’s police chief — Derek admits that Washington provides a unique vantage point as the capital city, having mixed drinks for everyone from royalty, ambassadors and senators to fellow Washingtonians, interns and students. He’s concocted cocktails at the White House, clinked glasses with Martha Stewart and was even appointed Chief Spirits Advisor at the National Archives. Derek’s philosophy for crafting memorable drinks goes beyond what’s shaken, stirred and served in a glass. “When I think about cocktails, I think about how they connect to nature, I think about how they connect to history,” he explained to Imbibe magazine, which named him 2015’s Bartender of the Year. “I think about how they connect to the people who made them and the time they were living in.”
Derek’s passion for spirits has taken him across the globe, where he’s learned about the integral role food and drink play in the culture, customs and values of communities worldwide. He’s also written about drinks and drinking for The Atlantic, The Washington Post and Bon Appetit magazine, among other publications.

ABOUT D’USSE: D’USSE [dew-say] launched in 2012, D’USSÉ is an ultra-premium cognac that blends over 200 years of tradition with the modern inspiration of Cellar /Master Michel Casavecchia. D’USSÉ is a uniquely powerful, authentic cognac that starts off with distinguished intensity, giving way to a pleasantly smooth, balanced finish. With exceptionally blended expressions including D’USSÉ VSOP and D’USSÉ XO (launched in 2014), D’USSE lends itself to a variety of elegantly crafted rich, and complex cognac-based cocktails.



Guests enjoyed Derek Brown and Columbia Room’s sonic wave cocktail demonstration using a singing bowl.

Georgia Fowler enjoying the classic Sidecar at the NYC D’USSE RE-MIXER

Ron Hill crafting his own re-mixed cocktail with D’USSE VSOP

Jamal Jackson at the NYC D’USSE RE-MIXER at McIntosh Townhouse

TK Wonder with DJ Millie, in between her sets of the evening at the NYC D’USSE RE-MIXER

Martin Salomon enjoying the Side Chick cocktail – a riff off the Side Car – at the NYC D’USSE RE-MIXER

Quiana Parks and her friend at the NYC D’USSE RE-MIXER

Elijah Dominique and friends at the NYC D’USSE RE-MIXER at the McIntosh Townhouse

DJ Millie entertained guests with sets throughout the evening at the NYC D’USSE RE-MIXER

Grammy Award-winning producer 9th Wonder led guests through a DJ Masterclass using the World of McIntosh’s renowned sound system

Amrit at the NYC D’USSE RE-MIXER at the McIntosh Townhouse

Vashtie enjoying the Side Car at the NYC D’USSE RE-MIXER


Photography by Rosamagda Taverna | Fashion Editor & Stylist Stesy | Makeup and Hair by Adelina Popa | Model Sophia @Mp Management

Scarf by Emilio Pucci | Earrings by Iosselliani

Scarf by Mario Dice | Earrings by Dior | Brooch by Rosantica | Shirt by Dondup

Scarf by Gucci | Bra by La Perla | Earrings by Iosselliani

Scarf by Hermes | Earrings and necklaces by Iosselliani

Scarf by Fendi | Glasses by Micheal Kors


Earrings by Victoria Hayes

Photography by Dustin MansyurStyling by Airik Prince | Model Marina Nery @ IMG models
Makeup by Nina Soriano of Artists and Company using Makeup Forever USA
Hair by Gonn Kinoshita using TIGI BedheadNails by Jini Lim using Chanel Le Vernis

Earring by
Slight Jewelry

Blouse by Chikimiki, Ring by Slight Jewelry

Earrings by Victoria Hayes

Earrings by Victoria Hayes, Dress by Georgine

Jacket by Victoria Hayes, Blouse by Chikimiki


 New York—Pace Gallery and Pace/MacGill Gallery are honored to announce their representation of The Richard Avedon Foundation with an exhibition of Richard Avedon’s photographs and extensive archival materials drawn from Nothing Personal, Avedon’s 1964 collaboration with James Baldwin. This will be the first comprehensive presentation of this period of Avedon’s work and will be on view at 537 West 24th Street from November 17, 2017 through January 13, 2018. To coincide with the occasion, TASCHEN will republish a facsimile edition of Nothing Personal with an accompanying booklet containing a new introduction by Pulitzer Prize-winning critic Hilton Als and rare and unpublished Avedon photographs.Native New Yorkers Richard Avedon (1923-2004) and James Baldwin (1924-1987) met as students at DeWitt Clinton High School in the Bronx in the late 1930s. They became friends while writing for and editing The Magpie, the school’s literary magazine. Even as teenagers, they, in their writing, dealt with profound issues of race, mortality, and, as Avedon wrote, “the future of humanity” as World War II closed in on them.

George Wallace, Governor of Alabama, November 1963 Photograph by Richard Avedon © The Richard Avedon Foundation

In January of 1963, Avedon photographed Baldwin for a magazine assignment and suggested that they work on a book about life in America. Baldwin readily agreed. “This book,” said Baldwin at the time, “examines some national and contemporary phenomena in an attempt to discover why we live the way we do. We are afflicted by an ignorance of our natures vaster and more dangerous than our ignorance of life on Mars.”

Corresponding frequently with Baldwin, Avedon traveled extensively in 1963 and 1964 photographing portraits for the book while Baldwin wrote the essay. They met up periodically to share and discuss their progress. The collaboration resulted in some of Avedon’s most pivotal portraiture of his middle career, from civil rights icons (Malcolm X) to staunch segregationists (George Wallace); to aging stars (Joe Louis) and young fame seekers (Fabian); to powerful politicians (Adam Clayton Powell) and ordinary citizens; to young idealists (Julian Bond) and elderly pacifists (Norman Thomas); to patients committed to a mental institution who seek love, comfort, and some semblance of consideration.

At the core of the photographs – almost all of which will be on view at Pace Gallery – is the question of how Americans understand race relations and their own identities, and, by extension, the identities and civil rights of others.

“Both Avedon and Baldwin cared deeply about what was (or was not) going on in America in the early 1960s. It was an explosive time, not unlike the one we live in today. The events enveloping our country provoked Avedon’s careful reflection and examination of the place and its people. There is a lot to learn from looking at this prophetic work and considering the very profound statement it makes.”—Peter MacGill

Marilyn Monroe, actress, May 1957 Photograph by Richard Avedon © The Richard Avedon Foundation

Nothing Personal was originally designed by Marvin Israel and published by Atheneum in November of 1964 under the aegis of legendary editor Simon Michael Bessie. Though denounced at the time of publication, Nothing Personal is now recognized as a masterwork whose powerful message of a confused and often compromised society seeking fleeting moments of joy, grace and occasional redemption remains equally relevant more than a half-century later.

Richard Avedon (1932–was born in New York City in 1923 and joined the Young Men’s Hebrew Association camera club at the age of 12. After serving as a Photographer’s Mate Second Class in the U.S. Merchant Marine during World War II, he began working as a freelance photographer, primarily for Harper’s Bazaar, in 1944. Under the tutelage of Alexey Brodovitch, Avedon quickly became the magazine’s lead photographer, while also creating formal portraits for many other sources, including his own portfolio.

First showcased in Edward Steichen’s Family of Man exhibition at The Museum of Modern Art in 1955, Avedon’s work has appeared in numerous exhibitions worldwide. His first retrospective was held at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington,

D.C. in 1962 and was followed by solo exhibitions at the Minneapolis Institute of Art (1970), The Museum of Modern Art, New York (1974), the Amon Carter Museum of American Art (1985), and the Whitney Museum of American Art (1994), among others. Avedon was the first living photographer to receive two shows at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York (1978 and 2002).

Avedon died while working on an assignment called “Democracy” for The New Yorker during the 2004 presidential election. During his lifetime, he established The Richard Avedon Foundation in New York City, which now houses his archive and works with curators and collectors around the world.

Patients in a mental institution, February 1963 Photograph by Richard Avedon © The Richard Avedon Foundation

Pace/MacGill, one of the world’s leading photography galleries has been dedicated to advancing fine art photography for over 30 years. Known for discovering artists, representinv masters, and placing important collections and archives into major public institutions, Pace/MacGill has presented some 200 exhibitions and published numerous catalogues on modern and contemporary photography. Founded in 1983 by Peter MacGill, in collaboration with Arne Glimcher of Pace and Richard Solomon of Pace Editions, Pace/MacGill is located at 32 East 57th Street in New York City.

Pace is a leading contemporary art gallery representing many of the most significant international artists and estates of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Founded by Arne Glimcher in Boston in 1960 and currently led by Marc Glimcher, Pace has been a constant, vital force in the art world and has introduced many renowned artists’ work to the public for the first time. Pace has mounted more than 900 exhibitions, including scholarly shows that have subsequently traveled to museums, and published over 450 exhibition catalogues. Today, Pace has nine locations worldwide: three galleries in New York; one in London; one in Palo Alto, California; one in Beijing; and spaces in Hong Kong, Paris, and Seoul. In 2016, the gallery launched Pace Art + Technology, a new program dedicated to showcasing interdisciplinary art groups, collectives and studios whose works explore the confluence of art and technology.

 Members of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, March 1963 Photograph by Richard Avedon © The Richard Avedon Foundation

Santa Monica Beach, September 1963 Photograph by Richard Avedon © The Richard Avedon Foundation

William Casby, born in slavery, March 1963 Photograph by Richard Avedon © The Richard Avedon Foundation


With the store originating from the tropics of South Beach and having expanded to Houston, Costa Mesa, and Bal Harbour—it was only natural for The Webster to house their new location in the heart of New York City’s, Soho. Laure Heriard Dubreuil, founder of the luxury retailer, has mirrored the same opulent brand formula with a new ingredient—Webster Home. The six story building will handle pieces by Italian artist Gaetano Pesce, Pierre Frey fabrics that are exclusive to The Webster, and Nada Debs brass candy colored pebble table. Throughout the renovation of their new location The Webster befriended Maxi Cohen, photographer, video artist, and neighbor whose piece is now featured on the third floor.

The store is thoughtfully filled with French 50’s sconce lights and wall papers from the 20’s and 30’s and does the historical 1878, 12,000-square-foot building proud. Turn of the century light wells guide you onto a vintage loading dock entrance, and step out into a room that’s a fusion of new and retrograded pieces mirroring the original Webster store, which was redeveloped with the help and design of Christopher Osvai.

Filling the six floored location are thirty male designers and 68 women designers, including but not limited to Isa Arfen, Julien David, and jewelry by Anita Ko, The Webster combines high end clothing interwoven amongst art deco and one of a kind installations. Sculptures such as Aaron Young’s “Below the Underdog, 2010” is set amongst thoughtfully chosen menswear on the fourth floor.

For more information about the founder, Laure Heriard Dubreuil, check out her Iris Woman feature!

All photos by Andrew Rowat courtesy of Karla Otto Public Relations

The Webster flagship retail store located at 29 Greene Street in New York, NY opening in Nov 2017.


The Webster flagship retail store located at 29 Greene Street in New York, NY opening in Nov 2017.


The Webster flagship retail store located at 29 Greene Street in New York, NY opening in Nov 2017.


The Webster flagship retail store located at 29 Greene Street in New York, NY opening in Nov 2017.


The Webster flagship retail store located at 29 Greene Street in New York, NY opening in Nov 2017.


The Webster, located at 29 Greene Street, opened to the public Monday, November 6, 2017

Shop online here


Although not one of the typical fashion hubs like New York, Milan, or Paris, Eastern European designers have been vying for attention and pushing the limit in fashion over the past decade. From Vetements to Gosha Rubchinskiy, Eastern Europe has become the leader in fashion and leaving us all wanting a piece of the former Eastern Bloc. We have cast a spotlight on the creatives of one country, Ukraine, and the designers who have managed to enter the global stage.

Photography by Mikhail Vovk @mikhailvovk | Styling  by Nika Kovtsur @nikakovtsur | Beauty by Liudmila Agakhanova @agakhanova_liu | Model Anna Rudenko @rudenkoannaua (MAG @modelagentgroup)

Vest by Alonova

Leather coat, pants and shoes by Alonova, Earrings by J.W. Anderson

Total look by Ostel

Blouse by Dafna May, Belt by Alonova, Trousers by Ostel, Earrings Stylist’s own

Trousers by Ostel, Jacket and Shoes by Dafna May

Suit by Nadia Yurkiv, Brooch Stylist’s own

Total look by Alonova

Suit by Nadia Yurkiv, Earrings Stylist’s own

Total look by Alonova


Style Assistant – Jacob Kotlik @jacobkotlik


Interview by Rishabh Manocha
All photos courtesy of Bindle & Keep

Adherence to gender conformity, an understated air of snobbery and implicit conservatism are aspects that best describe the setting of a traditional bespoke tailor’s shop. At the forefront of challenging these norms in the garb of a more inclusive world is Daniel Friedman, founder of Bindle & Keep. His firm is dedicated to creating bespoke garments for an audience that seeks to find comfort beyond the dichotomized notion of gender.

Perhaps modernity’s greatest challenge is to acknowledge that there is a landscape beyond the confines of a binary system of identification. This world is best perpetuated in clothing. This space most often concealed, whose glimpses we catch in the fleeting moments of idiosyncrasy remains largely in the shadows of our zeitgeist. And while it exerts a tremendous influence on our times, its most intrinsic needs go unnoticed. The whimsical fantasy of couture or the sombre refinement of tailoring don’t entirely please an audience that seeks both and none.

Design Semantics

Mr. Friedman hails from an architecture background which ascertains his ability to convince one of his imaginative prowess. “Trust is a very important factor in the design process,” he states, adding how pivotal it is to assure the clients that their vision and characteristics will not be compromised in the name of tradition or artistry. Running a business with a ninety-percent cis female and trans male consumer isn’t all that assumptive in nature, and indeed calls for the usage of sensitive language. “Triggers form an integral part of the garment. They can be visual, linguistic or sartorial. And, we translate them into a living portrait of the client in the form of clothing,” adds Friedman. It is years’ worth of social conditioning that is challenged in an in-depth conversation that resembles more of a holistic therapy session. The design process then begins and is followed by several weeks of comprehensive communication and fittings to achieve the desired perfection.


Heritage & Space

“Whilst we have great reverence for the tradition and craftsmanship of bespoke tailoring on Savile Row, I feel our clients feel neglected in the binary of the traditional tailoring system,” Friedman claims in a rather pensive tone. The idea of the business is to not only to provide well-fitted, superbly crafted garments but also to create a safe space for the diversity of people. “Our essence is not customary, we are not tipping our hats to one lineage or another, but rather working off the vulnerabilities and strengths of our clients that become apparent in form, shape and structure,” Friedman goes on to explain. The ethos of the business is not to undermine the value of binary, but rather to provide an alternative to people whose needs would otherwise be uncatered.


The Business of Bespoke

“We’ve created over seven thousand suits since our foundation in 2011,” exclaims Friedman. He started the business out of his apartment to provide not only a philosophical alternative, but also a monetary one. The business focuses on the usage of the finest fabrics from the likes of Scabal, Abraham Moon to Holland & Sherry. Unlike most bespoke businesses, the price points are much more palatable starting at $995 for a two piece suit. While design, pattern  and fittings are undertaken in the New York studio, garment construction takes place at a small-scale, ethically-run factory in Thailand. “ The demand is on the rise, and our challenge is to keep up the quality with the demand, hence the ten week timeline from inception to completion,” concludes Friedman.

Form, function and feasibility are chief tenets that this firm has well perfected. With the quality of old-world tailoring, sensitivity of a therapist and feasibility in price-point and convenience, Bindle & Keep is indeed an ingenious social and sartorial endeavour to address the concerns of the often singled out.

For more information, or schedule an appointment, visit:


Rebellion, power, and the allure of beauty and spectacle. I wanted to explore the relationship between the excessively opulent, the rebellious spirit, and the bewitching attraction of beauty. From the tale of Narcissus to the advent of the selfie, beauty has been a part of the psyche since the dawn of time and shows up everywhere we turn. The binaries of ugly and beautiful, submissive and rebellious, dull and glamorous, weak and powerful, male and female. I explore these extremes with references to Studio 54, the punk movement, and Imelda Marcos along with personal touches from my own life and point of view.
Photographer Marion Aguas | Fashion Editor and Designer Benjamin Price | Video Director Amanda Picotte | DP Mark Grgurich | Video Assistant Nicole Kugel | Hair by Candice Crawford and Angelo Styles | Makeup by Jaegger Pendoley and Tippy Danger | Models John James Busa, Daniel Walters, Ayumi, Ricky Aiello Jr., and Sebastian Rosemarie 

My research began with a look into the life of Imelda Marcos and her own personal construction of identity as well as the way she was viewed by the public. I wanted to tell her story, but through my research I realized that her story was just an allegory for the struggle of great, but controversial, women in history. Her’s is a perverse brand of feminism. Growing up Imelda wanted stability, respect, and power, and her whole life was directed towards those objectives. By using her beauty and her manipulative intelligence, she was able to marry Ferdinand Marcos and become what many regard as the second most powerful person in the Philippines at the time; an unofficial title that many First Ladies never have. However, in the lens of history, she is only remembered (though still presently living) as an icon of excess, conniving greed, and beauty. Her mark on history has been flattened, much like Marie Antoinette, as a one-dimensional character who brought down her husband and the country’s economy through vanity and sneakiness.

Concept and Fashion: Ben Price | Video Director: Amanda Picotte | Video Editor: Ricky Aiello Jr. | DP: Mark Grgurich | Video Assistant: Nicole Kugel | Music and Lyrics by: Zoe Zelkind and Stjepko Zebec

Women throughout history are seen as either the madonna or the whore. Women do not have the privilege of men in that they cannot be both good, evil, and everything in-between. There is a reason that in fairy tales the princess is virginal and pure of heart, and the witch is ugly, greedy, and prone to trickery. Through my thesis I wish to explore this identity construction. In her own personal history, Imelda made up certain facts in order to appear more lavish and important, and she purposefully acted out against tradition in order to stand out and garner power through other’s perception. Siouxsie Sioux, Madonna, Diana Ross, Bianca Jagger, and many other women of the 70’s and 80’s also rebelled through through their beauty and sartorial choices. There is an inherent power in the way we represent ourselves, and my thesis is about the dynamics between beauty, excess, power and subversion through spectacle.


The idea of glamour comes up in my personal life as well as in the qualities of humanity that I am interested in. There is no interest in reality for me, but only for glamorized reality tv and the absurdity that comes with such excess. The 1970’s and 80’s were rife with excess, as a sort of rebellion against the conservative government in the US and the difficult economic times. We are living in a similar need for glamorous living with the Trump presidency, the defeat of progression and womanhood, and the possibly dystopic, dark future ahead. I predict a resurgence of subcultural escapism and glamorous, surreal nightlife, art, and general creativity.


The idea of a rebellion in gender is what interests me most, from cross-dressing to gender-fuck and drag, I explore how people have used their clothing in order to subvert and draw attention by making others uncomfortable, and in turn, making one’s self feel more powerful. The punk movement used violence and gender to rebel, and many other forms of rebellion use clothing in order to convey their message, as it is the most powerful form of expression. Clothing tells a story, and one’s appearance can attract or repel others to that story.


The ultimate goal for many people is to be beautiful. Beauty is an enigma. A combination of financial privilege, genetics, attitude, and good-timing. There is a power in beauty that is hard to pin down. One feels powerless under the gaze of others, yet simultaneously one can get an intense satisfaction from that recognition which in turn makes one hungry for that same attention and validation. The power of beauty, whether it be the sirens of Greek mythology who led sailors to their death in a transfixed stupor, or Kimberly Kardashian’s selfie book, is an ever twisting and mythical ideal. We all strive to have power, and beauty is just another route to power.


Ultimately, that is my thesis synthesis. Power: what it means to each individual person, and what it can provide for them. Power is just another word for validation and importance. If you assert dominance over another person you proved your importance and you prove that your life means something and has affected change. Imelda sought power by marrying a powerful, wealthy man and sharing in that wealth and power, however her greed became her undoing. It is a classic trope of  hero’s journey: hubris leads to eventual demise. The punk movement was a grasp for power and validation as well. By subverting mainstream culture one proves their own identity as being individual and important. Punk says “fuck you!” to all accepted notions, and like all subcultures, garners attention from the mainstream and affects change. Studio 54 and the glamorous years of disco had a similar effect in terms of garnering attention, and it shared in a decadent hedonism that the punk movement paralleled.


In the movie Basic Instinct, starring Sharon Stone and Michael Douglas, Dr. Beth Garner warns that the anti-hero, Catherine Tramell, is brilliant and evil. When I first saw this movie, this scene of over-acting really resonated with me because it highlighted the dichotomy between genius and malice and the thin line that it tows. Catherine Tramell is so fascinating as a character, like most female characters that I adore, because even though she is a manipulative sociopath and likely murdered, she is so intelligent, beautiful, and so perfect in presentation that you cannot help but be charmed and want her to succeed. I have always had a love of strong female characters who may also be insane. This is a love that I believe goes back to my family and the strong, somewhat mentally and emotionally unstable women that I grew up around. I felt that “she’s brilliant! she’s evil!” is the perfect name for my thesis collection because it embodies the dynamics between appearance, identity, power, and ridiculousness that I have explored. Women can be brilliant, evil, kind, caring, sadistic, insane, imbecilic, ugly, and beautiful simultaneously…just like men.