WEB EXCLUSIVE: SPEED RACER
Button-Down Top by Marcelo Burlon
Button-Down Top by Marcelo Burlon
Photography by Ruo Bing Li | Styling by Connie Berg Model Manami Kinoshita @ Muse Model Management
Blazer and Pants (With Belt) by 3.1 Phillip Lim, Earrings by Rachel Comey, Shoes by Sigerson Morrison
Blazer by 3.1 Phillip Lim, Earrings by Rachel Comey
Blazer and Corset by Tibi, Earrings by Rachel Comey, Shoes by Nicholas K
Blazer and Corset by Tibi, Earrings by Rachel Comey
Vest and Trousers by Alexander Wang
Blazer and Trousers by Rachel Comey, Top by Oresund Iris
Blazer by Nomia, Choker Stylist’s Own
Top by COS, Earrings by Monies
Top by Oresund Iris, Shoes by Nicholas K, Earrings by Rachel Comey
Makeup by Liset Garza @ The Wall Group, Hair by Kiyo Igarashi, Manicure by Yukie Miyakawa @ Kate Ryan Using YSL Beauty, BTS Video by Xixi, Stylist Assistants Yinka Akinmola and Belle Bakst, Production by XTheStudio, Special Thanks to Splashlight Studios
WHO Moët & Chandon, the champagne of success and glamour, and designer Virgil Abloh, the founder of fashion label Off-White and Louis Vuitton’s newest menswear artistic director
WHAT Moët and Abloh have come together release a collection of two limited edition bottles of Moët Nectar Impérial Rosé – the #1 selling rosé Champagne in the US – marking the designer’s first-ever liquor brand collaboration. A 3L jeroboam, which will be available exclusively to friends and family of Abloh, as well as a 750mL “ready-to-wear” bottle that will be available nationally
WHERE Clos19.com and local retailers (750ml only)
WHEN October 15, 2018
750ml bottles: $59.99
MOËT & CHANDON, the renowned and legendary champagne of success and glamour since 1743, has released a collaboration rosé with fashion’s it-boy provocateur Virgil Abloh. This is Abloh’s first creative partnership with an alcohol brand, and he has chosen an equally pioneering luxury maison to introduce him to the world of fine spirits. MOËT NECTAR IMPÉRIAL ROSÉ pleases the senses with its refined and sophisticated richness and distinguishes itself by its extravagant fruitiness, its density on the palate and crisp finish which surprises and delights. Virgil, the American designer, has impacted many creative fields since his rise to fame as close friend and creative director of Kanye West, from fashion to furniture and music, Abloh has imprinted his signature on everything he touches.
The bottle of the Nectar Imperial is stamped with “DO NOT DROP” on the side, a classic trope of Mr. Abloh’s as a Warhol-esque nod to the tongue-in-cheek nature of his work, stating the obvious with an artistic twist. These bottles are sure to fly off the shelves as the fashion hoards clamor for anything with Virgil’s association, and the refined and luxurious quality of Moet & Chandon is assured with every bottle.
VIRGIL ABLOH is an American designer, DJ and stylist who came to prominence as Kanye West’s creative director. Born to Ghanaian parents and raised in Chicago, Abloh has since made waves in the fashion world with his luxury streetwear label, Off-White, worn by the likes of Jay-Z, ASAP Rocky, Rihanna and Beyoncé. In 2015, Off-White was an LVMH Prize finalist, culminating in his appointment as artistic director of menswear
at Louis Vuitton in March 2018. “This opportunity to think through what the next chapter of design and luxury will mean at a brand that represents the pinnacle of luxury was always a goal in my wildest dreams,” he said of
VICTORIA HAYES jacket
VICTORIA HAYES jacket and pants
Lex Scott Davis started off as a dancer but soon diverged onto the road towards acting in commercials and television and eventually starring in one of this summers blockbuster hits. After landing the role of Toni Braxton in the television-movie Toni Braxton: Unbreak My Heart, the snowball started rolling and Davis’ career has taken off. Now starring as the lead heroine in The First Purge, Lex Scott Davis is a no-nonsense force on-screen, and her performances in The First Purge and SuperFly have proved that Davis is here to stay.
In this exclusive interview with Iris Covet Book, we learned more about her role in the latest installment of the Purge thriller franchise and how the film and her character resonated with her personal story.
Where are you from originally?
I’m originally from Baltimore, Maryland, then made the move to Philly, then New York, and now Los Angeles. The move to New York was challenging in the beginning, especially when you don’t have family there. New York wasn’t necessarily the safest place either. Living in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn and commuting to work in the city everyday was a culture shock, but also a great growing experience.
When did you first know that you wanted to go into acting?
I went to Drexel University in Philadelphia and majored in dance and physical therapy. I started to grow out of it; I didn’t see the longevity of becoming a dancer. So in my third year in the program I decided to leave and move to NYC where I started acting classes at the New York Film Academy.
Was there a certain incident that confirmed in your mind you needed to pursue acting?
When I begin to realize that dancing had a cap to it. I think after a certain age you either become a teacher or a choreographer and I knew that wasn’t what I wanted for myself. I understood from a very young age that I loved performing, so for me it was like ‘what can I do that will allow me to perform for people the rest of my life?’ and the answer was acting. You never run out of opportunities as an actor. They will always need some 80-year-old black lady to come in and play someone’s grandma, you know what I mean? (Laughing).
How do you compare the differences between living and working in New York versus Los Angeles?
Well, they were two totally different experiences for me. NY was really about school and learning the craft of acting and when I moved to LA it was all about auditions and hustling for the jobs. When I first moved to LA I realized I wasn’t really as prepared as I would like to have been. I knew I couldn’t just dive straight into grabbing a professional acting job. I definitely had to work my way up with commercials and stage plays until I eventually found my way into the audition for the Toni Braxton biopic which was the first real opportunity within my first year of living in LA.
Dress by Stella McCartney
Leather Jacket by All Saints
How was it to work alongside Toni Braxton on the production of her biopic?
When I booked the movie my manager called to tell me I had to be on a plane to meet her in Vegas the next day. I attended her show that night and she pulled me up on stage. That was our first time ever meeting. She was very involved in all the pre-production, table reads, and made herself available to us if we ever had any questions. She would do whatever it took for us to get to know her. I choose to be more of an observer and watched her every move, even when she didn’t know she was being watched (laughs). I wanted to see how she interacted with people and the little nuances that she does. I think I learned more about her that way.
Tell us about your latest film The First Purge. What should fans know going in?
Well I think each Purge is a stand alone story, so you don’t have to see the previous movies to understand this one. And this is the prequel, so it’s setting you up for the previous ones. It’s not a horror slasher film like some would assume, it’s actually way more evolved. The film is more of an action thriller and has a refreshing storyline where we get to see young black people being the hero’s of their community. It’s really fun to watch and I don’t want to give too much away but it’s very exciting. Oh, and the music is DOPE.
Tell us a how you prepared for your role in The First Purge?
This role was so hard, and I fought very hard to get it. I went in to audition at least four times in a pretty rigorous process. In terms of preparation–I felt I could really relate to the script because of how I grew up, the people I grew up with, and the circumstances these characters lived with that were very relatable to me. I’m from Baltimore and was raised around the circumstances of lower income neighborhoods.
So you felt a strong connection to your character?
It’s a relatable story. Nia’s story isn’t exactly my story or how I grew up but it’s definitely a story that I know and it is close to me. I think it’s relatable to any woman in this scenario. Nia is taking care of her brother and her household. She’s working multiple jobs to make sure her family is supported and is a strong voice for her community. I know a lot of women who are that person. Women who are trying to make things work despite their circumstances, who push for resistance against the political matters at hand that are up against them.
We get to see a small glimpse of you as an action hero in The First Purge. Do you see yourself playing more parts like this?
Yes, definitely. I remember one of my earlier experiences that made me want to be an actor was when my mother took me to see Tomb Raider when I was young. Seeing Angelina Jolie in a kick ass role made me say, “Oh my god, I want to do that!” She was so beautiful and so physical and strong, and that was something I could relate to at the time because I had the dance background. To see her on the same playing field as men, and showing that dominance and strength, was amazing to me.
Is there a favorite movie that you would love to star in if there were ever a remake?
I would love to be in a role similar to Charlize Theron’s character in Monster. To be someone that is so put-together but then stripped down from all of that and completely raw. Seeing a different component of her level of acting and the layers and complexity of the role is to bring truth to the story. It’s equally as beautiful as when she’s all done up and doing her J’adore commercial. It was just a brilliant film. My mother showed me that film years ago. (Laughs)
What advice would you give to aspiring actors?
Even while Toni Braxton happened for me within my first year, a lot of people didn’t see the other side when I was working at a salon. I worked for a massage therapy office, I was driving a Lyft–there were so many things going on. It certainly wasn’t easy. Yes, I acknowledge it was quicker than some to obtain, but it certainly wasn’t handed to me. There was a lot of hard work in between.
Nothing is by coincidence, and I’m a firm believer that if you truly love and are persistent in the thing you know you can do, then keep on doing it. What people don’t always see is that on a day-to-day basis actors are handed a handful of auditions a week and it only takes one of those for something to happen. My advice would be to keep being persistent and to not be defeated by the ‘no’s’. Remember those ‘no’s’ are leading up to that ‘yes’, and it’s not by coincidence. Maybe the role that passed on you allows you to find a role thats going to catapult you into that big break. Everything happens for a reason.
Bra Top by All Saints
Choker by Moschino | Dress and Fur by TKTKT
Top and Skirt by Valentino, Earring by Bond Hardware, Small Earrings Model’s Own, Necklace by Missoni, Bracelets by Lynn Ban, Ring (far left) by Lynn Ban, Ring (middle left hand) by Chrishabana, Ring (pointer right hand) by Chrishabana, Ring (ring finger right hand) by Lynn Ban, Ring (right pinky) by Chrishabana
Photography by Johnny Vicari | Styling by Marc Anthony George | Model Delilah Belle @ IMG Models
Makeup by Kanako Takase @ Streeters using Shiseido | Hair Shingo Shibata @ The Wall Group | Manicure by Jini Lim using Chanel le Vernis
Trench Coat, Body suit, necklace and earring (large) by Roberto Cavalli, Earrings (small) Model’s Own
Photo Assistants Fujio Eumera and Marion Aguas | Producer Dustin Mansyur | Retouching by Cloak Studios | Photographed at Baby Love Studio
Photography by Justin von Oldershausen | Styling by Noah Diaz| Models: Kobe Delgado @ Click, Sasha Komissarov @ IMG, Ange Marie Moutambou @ Heroes, Emely Montero @ Wilhelmina, Anita Terenteva @ Wilhelmina
Suit and Shoes by Kenzo
Among a menagerie of rainbow-hued, glittering, plastic beaded life-sized figures, standing like a proud father overlooking his artistic creations, the charmingly unique Raúl de Nieves shares his artistic rituals with us in his cathedral of creations.
Photography by Tiffany Nicholson | Interview by Mariana Valdes Debes
Blending the lines between the human and the artificial, Raúl de Nieves’ instantly recognizable shoes, masks, and humanoid figures are at once fantastical, desirous art pieces, yet remain relatable and human. Located in the heart of Bushwick, Brooklyn, NY, de Nieves has created a studio filled with beads, fringe, ephemera, and anthropomorphized beings who appear to dance and interact with each other.and it is within that studio where we met the artist and sat down to discuss his art and unique perspective.
Born in Michoacan, Mexico, immigrating to the United States at the age of nine to California, and following the winding path to New York City, Raúl has made a name for himself and cut a swatch of color through the country. In our current state of political turmoil, climate change, and war, it is a breath of fresh air to see the talent that emanates from each piece of art that de Nieves creates as well as from the artist himself.
Here, Mariana Valdes Debes, an international art promoter of Mexican artists, sits in conversation with Raúl for Iris Covet Book.
Hi Mariana, it’s nice to talk to you.
Nice to talk to you as well, I think your work is amazing! I want to start from the beginning and ask how growing up in Michoacan, Mexico influenced your decision to enter into the world of art?
Growing up in Mexico, especially in Michoacan, was really enriching through the different cultures, craftsmen, and artisans. My family was always really pushing for us to see what Mexico had to offer. I remember seeing artisans working in their community, and I came to the United States with that knowledge and those memories. I’m not trying to emulate what I saw, but I am creating these narratives through performances and storytelling, painting, installation, and at the end it’s about creating experiences for yourself and for others to be part of.
Your exhibition last summer “El Rio” was an analysis of the western cultural view of death and the antithetical idea of death as an “ecstatic mystery of life” – how did that concept come to fruition?
I’ve experienced a lot of death in my family, with my friends, and it’s something that we all have to face at one point. My father passed away when I was very young, and it helped me understand that it’s a part of life. Obviously we mourn when someone passes away, but how do we continue to celebrate their lives and what does that mean? To understand that they are not physically here, but emotionally they are closer to me now than ever. Having a really close family member pass away is one of the scariest things, yet it’s also like becoming closer to that person. It’s something that I had to experience and move past.
The majority of your body of work is comprised of fantastical humanoid creatures made of glued beads and other miscellaneous non-traditional material— how did the decision of using these materials come about?
The bead has been utilized by many cultures, but somehow we forget that it’s this beautiful little piece of material that can transform in so many different ways. I went to New Orleans during Mardi Gras and came back with a suitcase full of beads. From then on it just made a lot of sense. All of a sudden they just started to appear more and more in my life.
Well the beaded shoes you created in your earlier work are really just to die for. Every time I see them I just wonder what it feels like to wear them.
They are actually really uncomfortable. I think that’s the best part about it—they are beautiful objects of desire, but when you actually put them on they hurt. When I wear these objects in my performances, it becomes part of this struggle to portray myself as this specific character. I don’t know, it’s kind of magical. Sometimes we want these beautiful objects, but they are obviously not the most practical things we should long for, but we still do.
In an interview with MoMA, you stated that one sculpture, Day(Ves) of Wonder, took you seven years to complete but you never gave up on it. How does the process of creating each labor-intensive sculpture strengthen or teach you as an artist, and do you think that the number of years changed the idea behind the piece over time?
The work is made completely of beads and was a very complicated piece to build. I started to make these huge sculptures and was fantasizing about what it would be like to create a full, life-size figure out of beads. It took me so long because there was a lot of trial and error. The piece spoke back to me and taught me that every time I felt like I was failing, there was a possibility that it could continue to work as long as I had the ability to go forward. Till this day, it’s one of my favorite works. Day(Ves) of Wonder derives from my mom’s daycare called “Days of Wonder”, and I was thinking how interesting it is for my mom to have these small periods of time with these kids as they grow up. I think this piece had this same idea of learning from each experience. I don’t know when I’ll have another moment to work on something for that long, or if I need to, but it really gave me so much understanding to know that every time I went back and started working on the piece, it was teaching me something in return. Maybe that’s why that piece is so celebrated, because people feel that energy within its expression and within its movement.
You never gave up and you went through stages creating the piece, becoming a master of the process.
Yeah, exactly! There’s beauty in creating this object that doesn’t have a moving life or a soul. Through our emotions and the experiences that we project into these objects, the energy that resonates with the viewer creates the idea of a life behind it. To me, the sculpture is of a seven year-old child because of the time that I spent with it and how I saw myself growing. It was an ambitious task to take on and I don’t want to reproduce another one because this piece lives on to be a celebration of an experience and a time. I still question what that piece actually continues to mean to me. That’s the beauty of art, you can work on something forever. As humans we’re constantly doing that; we’re always working on who we are and trying to figure out what it means to be human.
That brings me to my other question. Surrounded by these figures every day, do they develop personalities and life stories of their own as you become attached to them?
Yeah, of course! It’s amazing to build each piece with its own identity, and this identity can be processed through the relationship of the other works next to one another. I like to believe that we live in a fantasy world and we should give ourselves some freedom; life doesn’t necessarily always have to be so concrete. As children, we get this beautiful time of our life to dream and imagine, and then we get to a certain age and give up on that. I constantly imagine myself to be this fantastical person, even if it’s just for a moment.
The performance aspect of my work allows me to tap into these roles that I can’t necessarily inhabit on an everyday basis. It’s a great gift to be able to perform these silly experiences or cathartic moments through these characters, and there’s comfort in putting on a mask and allowing yourself to not really be seen as human, but to be something fantastical. Having this ability to tap out is really cool and I think that’s why a lot of cultures use costumes and perform these beautiful dances, plays, and fables to tap out.
I want to ask about your use of vibrant colors. How did your very maximal use of colors develop over time?
Colors can create very emotional experiences, and I guess that’s why I tend to use so many bright hues of colors. I’m trying to learn how to really control what the color can do, what it means, and what it can put out into the world. In a way, color is like language, it allows for people to feel a certain way. The simplicity of these tools that we already have and putting them into artwork is not necessarily about following rules but following common sense and what feels natural.
Like just going toward the aesthetic of it, the feeling and the emotion that comes through the first time.
Yeah, for awhile my least favorite color was red, so for a year I only wore red to understand why. I had so many different experiences with strangers asking me why I was wearing all red. People would come up to me and try to tell me what they felt red meant to them. It was really interesting to do this exercise for a year, but I’ll probably never do it again.
Well that must have felt like a performance. Yeah, exactly. I wasn’t really intentionally trying to make it a performance, but it was a very interesting exercise. As a Mexican-American artist, how do you feel about the political climate in both countries? Do the current political events inspire or influence your work?
The current President having these views towards Mexico is very archaic. But I realize it’s been happening since the beginning of time, as hard as it is to believe. I try not to be too political about it, because I know it’s not just the United States versus Mexico; it’s the world against one another. When will it end? Who knows? You would think by now we could unite and make this place even better than it is. We are made of the same matter; we need to understand that we will be stronger together. The idea of immigration is beautiful. It has allowed me to believe in acceptance for all. It is beautiful to know that you can somehow be who you are and be accepted and be part of a new nation. That idea has influenced a lot of my work. Everyone has a different experience with immigrating, and in the end I am thankful that I was accepted into a new culture, and that maybe I can influence more people to believe that this is a positive possibility.
A quick scroll through your Instagram reveals an interest in religion and historical references. Where does this interest come from?
Well, I’m a spiritual person. I have a lot of faith, and not just in history or the idea of religion. I like feeling that there is a higher power, or that perhaps believing is what creates a higher power. For me, spirituality is a way of life and it helps to ground myself and cope with all of these catastrophes happening around us.
What do you view as your biggest personal accomplishment to date and why?
Self-acceptance. I’ve been able to really accept myself, and not just myself, but also the people around me. In a way, that’s a huge accomplishment. I think it’s self-love and acceptance that’s made me as open as I am, and as a result I can be my true self.
What can we expect next from you?
I’d like to make art more accessible, to create more experiences that can be accessible not just inside the art world, but also outside. I don’t know whether that means creating public artworks, or if that even changes anything, but I just want to really feel like there is more openness to everything.
And in 10 years?
In 10 years? Maybe I’ll have a dog.