Bodysuit by Madewell
Turtleneck by Joseph, Headpiece and Hat Stylist’s Own
Bodysuit by Madewell
Turtleneck by Joseph, Headpiece and Hat Stylist’s Own
Coat by Philipp Plein
Photography by Dustin Mansyur | Styling by Marc Sifuentes | Grooming by Nina Soriano | Production by Ben Price | Video Director of Photography Johnny Vicari | Model Dagsen Love @ Wilhelmina Models
Photographed at Baby Love Studio – Brooklyn, NY
Coat by Philipp Plein
Shirt by Philipp Plein, Scarf stylist’s own
Bottom: On Pietro– Underwear by Emporio Armani
Photography by Greg Swales | Styling by Marc Sifuentes | Models.Trevor Signorino @ Next New York, Pietro Baltazar @ Next New York,
Thom Gwin @ Soul Artist Management, Augusta Alexander @ Soul Artist Management, Tomas Skoloudik @ Heroes Models
Right: On Augusta– Necklaces by Coach 1941
Bottom Left: On Augusta–Shirt by Vivienne Westwood.
On Augusta– Shirt and Trousers by Versus Versace
Top Left: On Augusta–Shorts by Moschino.
Top: On Thom– Jacket and Shirt by Thom Browne.
On Tom–Jacket, Shirt, Cumberbun and Trousers by Tom Ford.
Top Left: On Augusta–Tank Top and Speedo by Moschino.
Top Right: On Pietro–Trousers and Shirt by Kenzo.
Groomers: Austin Burns using Oribe (Augusta and Trevor), Gianluca Mandelli using Kerastase (Thom and Tomas), and Wendi Miyake (Pietro) Art Direction by Louis Liu, Editor-in- Chief Marc Sifuentes, Production by Benjamin Price, Stylist Assistant Justin Dahlgren, Production/ Photo Assistant Lavoisier Clemente.
Photography by Alejandro Cabezut @alejandrocabezut
Styling by Charlie Ward (@charliewardstyles)
Makeup / Grooming by Jenny Sauce
Hair by Jenni Wimmerstedt
Model Sehan @ Wilhelmina
Styling Assistant Zach Mauer
Photo Assistant Katherine Solomon
Total Look by Calvin Klein 205W39NYC
Total Look by Prada
Jacket by Tom Ford
Taking over the legendary Sin City strip, making history as the first Latino to headline a Las Vegas residency, and jumping headlong into the world of acting, Ricky Martin shows he is one of the most intriguing and impactful entertainers of our time.
Father, husband, singer, dancer, and actor. Ricky Martin is constantly juggling his many roles with seemingly effortless ease. Currently a resident on the Vegas strip at the Park Theater at Monte Carlo for his solo show, Martin is also eager to further pursue his acting career, release a new album, create a new world tour, and continue helping the people of Puerto Rico and the victims of human trafficking. Filled with love, down-to-earth spirituality, and an effervescent charm, Ricky Martin has proven himself to be an everlasting icon of pop culture.
In an exclusive interview with Iris Covet Book Editor-in-Chief Marc Sifuentes, the Puerto Rican star gets personal about his daily life with his husband and twins, life in the limelight, and his continuous efforts to make the world a better place.
Hi Ricky! I wanted to thank you for doing this interview and for being so fun and easy-going on the day of the shoot.
Well, thank you! You and your team were amazing and had such a beautiful energy in the studio.
Thank you! So, I want to start with asking about your second “back by popular demand” Vegas residency at the Park Theater, what is the key to producing such a successful and in-demand show?
I give credit to the people that I work with: the producers, directors, all of the people behind the scenes, the musicians, and the dancers. It really takes a village, and I wouldn’t be able to do this show without an amazing group of people behind me. I’m happy to have these talented producers and directors who can translate my vision and make it magic! To be the first Latino male to have a residency in Vegas is a big responsibility. What I love about this show is having the opportunity to perform every night in front of a very international crowd. Just to be on stage and see all of these faces from all over the world really motivates and inspires me. What I want to do is break boundaries and unite cultures. To see the crowd disconnect from their everyday problems in life and leave the theater with a smile is a very beautiful thing. I wish we could do this show for many more years.
Will you be taking this show on the road at the end of it’s Vegas run?
Well since I have an exclusivity contract I won’t be able to take this particular show on the road or perform it outside of the Park Theater. But I will hopefully be on the road touring a new show next year through Latin America and the United States. The idea is to take a new show all over the world, hopefully by next year.
I was watching clips of the show and it just looks amazing, you seem larger than life and so confident. Do you ever feel insecure? And if you do, what do you tell yourself to get out of that headspace?
I am very insecure. I am insecure when I write music, when I perform, when I act…but what gets me through are my years of experience. I am human and I go through a lot of highs and lows before I go on stage. If you see the show, for the first song I’m coming down from a 300-foot drop! I may look super confident, but I’m not! (laughs) I suffer from vertigo and it can be very difficult to focus, but it is part of confronting my demons and breaking that trauma that triggers my vertigo. By the time the music starts, I just have to forget everything and jump into storytelling mode.
Well it’s been getting really great reviews! Would you consider extending your residency for a third round?
Oh, I would love that! And funny you should ask because that’s exactly what we are in discussions about at the moment, and if we do, I will need to create a whole new show for the international audience.
You recently teased your fans with a new single, “Fiebre”, when can we expect a new full length album?
I am thinking hopefully by the beginning of next year, but right now we have been pretty focused on the Vegas show and American Crime Story, which we were shooting for eight months. Today, the record company no longer needs the record out at a very specific time so the artists have more freedom, and if a song is ready then I can just release it. Obviously numbers are important in this industry, but it gives us an idea of what the audience likes or dislikes, and I have never felt more relaxed doing music.
Since you mentioned American Crime Story, how did you become involved and what made you say yes to the story?
A few years ago I had the opportunity to work with Ryan Murphy on an episode of Glee. We’ve kept in touch and he invited me to dinner to tell me that he thinks he has a role for me. Once I read the script I immediately said yes because it was personal. I knew I wanted to be a part of telling Versace’s story. I wanted to remind the viewers the injustice behind what happened. Because it’s not how Gianni Versace died, but how we allowed it to happen. What angers me most is that Cunanan was on the FBI’s Most Wanted List, living on Miami Beach which is a very small community, but the FBI turned the other way because he was a gay man killing gay men. There is no denying to me that this was really an issue of homophobia. I think we did a great job covering that aspect of the story.
I read that Ryan Murphy wants to give you your own show, any word on that project?
Well he told me about it and then made it public, and I got really excited! We haven’t spoken in detail about it because he is transitioning from one network to another and he told me that he will be busy until June, but I’m not in a rush. (laughs) I would love to do something behind the scenes as well. But no, we haven’t talked about it yet.
You brought up the issue of homophobia and it made me think of your new music video. “Fiebre” and of course American Crime Story both show you openly embracing your sexuality. After being forced into the closet for so long, how does it feel for you to finally be able to express being gay through your music videos and now your acting roles?
Amazing! If I could go back and come out in the late ‘90s or early 2000’s then I would, because it felt amazing to come out. When I talk to people who are struggling with their identity, I tell them that it may be bumpy for awhile but in the long run the love that I received from my friends, family, from social media…it was spectacular. I know this is not the case for everyone but at the end of the day it is about dignity and self love.
You recently received a Trailblazer award from The LGBT Community Center in NYC, what did receiving that award mean to you?
Well like receiving any award, it is a big responsibility, but at the end of the day I am proud because it lets me talk about where I have been, who I am, and what I did to finally understand my real essence. In my case, I get to share my story. I meet so many people in the streets or on social media who tell me, “Ricky, thank you so much because I know what you went through and I can better understand my gay father, gay uncle, gay brother, lesbian aunt…” and I think it is a beautiful thing and it is important.
I wanted to talk about your husband, artist Jwan Yosef, a bit. You met on Instagram and I was reading you instant messaged for six months before meeting—
Yes! And nothing sexy! It was very romantic. We talked a lot just about our problems and lives. I never even heard his voice until six months later when I went to visit him in London, where he was based. I said to myself, “This is it. I just met the man who I am going to marry.” Two years later we were married. He is a great man, he loves my kids, and we have so many things in common.
He is a conceptual painter and I have mad respect and admiration for what he does. When I see him and his creative process… it is so sexy. I just love when he locks himself in his studio and starts creating. I become a fly on the wall, watching him paint and create works of art. I am in love, man, I am so in love.
You’ve mentioned in the past that you want more children, what do you love about being a father and what is the most challenging part of raising twins?
Yes, I want more; I’m just getting started! If it was my decision I would have six more, but Jwan says let’s take it one step at a time. (laughs) With kids, and I’m sure every parent out there will say this, but everything is new every day and being a single father with twins was extremely challenging, especially in the first year. No one is sleeping, and it’s two against one. Now that they’re older it’s still two against one, but they are amazing kids and the bonding time over the first year was so important. I took a sabbatical, and I did not accept any help. I wanted to do it all, change every diaper, bathe them everyday, and the relationship I have with my kids… there’s just so much love. They are almost 10 years old and this is when dads stop being cool and they start making fun of you! I’m really happy because I’m not there yet with them (laughs).
I’m sure your spirituality plays a big part in your parenting too, what helped you to discover your spirituality?
When we talk about spirituality we go back in time. Religion has nothing to do with spirituality, but I would say that growing up Catholic, even being an altar boy, was too much for me. I kept searching and looking for other philosophies and dogmas to ascribe to. There was a moment where I was obsessed with India and going about four times a year because they call it the Cradle of Spirituality.Then my kids became my religion. It doesn’t matter how late I go to bed, I religiously wake up at 7:00 a.m. everyday to have breakfast with them, and that bonding experience with the three of us is the only way I want to start my day. But once a Catholic, always a Catholic. To this day I sometimes look to God when the boys ask me questions because they ask some really hard questions, and I just want to give them the right answer.
I want to talk about Puerto Rico, from your experience can you give us an update on how the country is doing currently? I know that you were and still are very involved in fundraising after hurricane Maria.
Oh man, well 43% of the island still has no power, and if you go up to the more rural mountain areas, even now nine month later, people still have no power, no running water, and are bathing in the river and using candlelight. It is really frustrating and I wish the federal government would have done more. You have to wonder, if this were any other city in the continental US, would we ever hear that nine months later people have no power? No, I don’t think that would happen. But we have to do our part, and Puerto Ricans have experienced a great level of compassion, empathy, and care from volunteers, and the country has become creative and adapted. This too shall pass, but it will take a long time to go back to normal.
Another cause that is close to your heart is bringing awareness to human trafficking, can you explain where this compassion comes from and tell us more about the Ricky Martin Foundation?
With natural disasters like hurricanes for example, the community becomes more vulnerable and human traffickers take advantage. Traffickers come to the island and see all of these people who have lost everything and need money to buy things, and these kids end up selling their bodies or getting forced into pornography.
How did it first come to your attention?
More than a decade ago a friend of mine was building an orphanage in India, and this was when I was looking for any excuse to go to India. I flew to Calcutta, and he took me to the slums and said, “Come on, let’s rescue girls!” I had no idea what this meant, but when I got to the slums he started to point out girls like, “You see those three? They could be forced into prostitution.” and I’m standing there like, “What?! What do you mean? That girl must be five and her sister must be eight and her older sister must be eleven” and he says, “Yes, Rick. This is human trafficking. These girls live on the streets and they need money to help their family and they get paid for selling their bodies.” I was so astounded and went back home and started to educate myself on the subject. I went to Congress and told them we needed to bring more awareness to this global $150 billion industry. The victims are sex slaves.
Did you know there are more slaves today then back in the slave trade of the 18th century? Today, as soon as you open your computer you could easily fall victim to a criminal persuading you into the world of prostitution.
It’s encouraging to hear you are using your platform to educate others of these injustices.
It’s not easy. Ten years ago I wanted to stop. I said I couldn’t do it anymore because we couldn’t keep up. We were working so hard but I felt like I didn’t see any change. My mentor looked at me and said, “Ricky, you’ve got to stop being so arrogant. Who do you think you are? Do you think you will change the world? You’re not Superman! How about focusing on saving one life? And one life can become two.” We went back and built a holistic center in Puerto Rico in an area affected by trafficking, and right now we have 132 children coming to the center. We are educating them about human trafficking and opening their eyes to the predators. It’s a lifetime commitment. We are not going to save everyone, but we will save one person at a time.
What else can we expect from you this year?
I’m getting more prepared as an actor, meeting with great writers, producers, and directors and I think there are some great opportunities on the table. I am so lucky to be at a place where I can pick and choose the projects that speak to me. Aside from still making my music, I really want to jump into acting more and playing amazing roles that can have a positive impact on society. My acting career is very personal to me right now; I am obsessed and don’t want to stop!
Hair by Joey Nieves @ Grey Matter LA using Hanz de Fuko, Makeup by Maital Sabban @ MS Management, BTS Video by Lavoisier Clemente, Photo Assistant Amanda Yanez, Art Direction by Louis Liu, Editor-in-Chief Marc Sifuentes, Production by Benjamin Price
Photographer: Justice Apple @justiceapple | Stylist: Isaiah Walls @theisaiahwalls
Producer: Tarayn Sanders @taraynsanders | Groomer: Samantha Tobin @samjomakeup
Models: Christian Dion: @we_staycoolin, Levi Berlin @levithejedi
Christian wears Suit by 5000
Levi wears shirt by Comme des Garcons
Christian wears Jacket by 5000
Black Patent leather collar blouse Johna Stone
Photographer Emmanuel Sanchez-Monsalve, Fashion Stylist Brit Cato, Hair by Julia Kim, Makeup by Cyler
Dancer and actor Parker Kit Hill has found himself a home in the worlds of entertainment and social media stardom. Whether dancing in a bobbed wig in his apartment or starring across from RuPaul in the hit TV show Broad City, Parker makes an impact whenever a camera is near. Parker’s unique looks, style, and personality have made him a perfect candidate for fame in the age of viral videos and influence. Spend a surreal day dancing with Parker, equipped with a rainbow of eyebrow pencils, a towers of hats, and all of the platforms you could need!
Red kimono and Pants by: Gustav Von Aschenbach, Black Hat by Essenshel, White Hat by Essenshel, Black Platforms by iRi
Charmingly-maximal, Luke Edward Hall’s whimsical take on interiors offers an escape from the mundane white box of minimalism.
Photography by Wikkie Hermkens | Styling by Sonny Groo | Interview by Dustin Mansyur
Full look by Burberry
Peruse through Luke Edward Hall’s instagram feed, and one will find a story vibrantlylayered in color-clad interiors, candy-colored hues of hand painted ceramics and drawings, and peppered with images documenting the 27-year-old creative’s quixotic travels. Stylishly dandy and tousle-haired, Hall curates a dreamy world as if seen through the most decadent shade of millennial pink lenses. A visit to his North London studio enforces the idea, with it’s bubblegum-painted walls and scatter of colorful tools and materials strewn across his work table. Daring fabric remnants, bouquets of colored pencils and brushes sprout charmingly in a collection of vintage mugs and vases, vintage photographs, magazine clippings, and the occasional tchotchke clutter the artist’s space like a decorated nest. In the center, a spot is cleared away, just big enough to entertain a drawing in progress.
Hall has been dubbed by Vogue.com as the ‘interior design world’s wunderkind’, a hefty seal of approval for a budding artist and designer. With a variety of blue-chip collaborations with companies like Burberry, Drakes, and Stubbs & Wootton already in his portfolio, Hall is positioned thoughtfully for longevity. His idyllic watercolor brush strokes, and gestural, simplified drawings elicit an understanding of the same subtleties of Matisse or Picasso’s more expressionistic works, while an array of products he’s created in-house suggests similar branding sensibilities of such design heavyweights as Jonathan Adler or Kelly Wearstler. The romance exists in the visual language Hall uses to couple his creative vision with commercial potential, resulting in the fanciful prism of his nostalgia inspired work.
Here IRIS Covet Book offers a glimpse into the auspicious world of Luke Edward Hall.
‘Gervase by the Pool’, 2017 (has been sold)
You actually studied menswear at Central Saint Martins before you established your studio in 2015. Your career has really blossomed as an artist, but also as a designer of objects. What influenced your decision, or what shifted your focus, I should say rather, post-graduation, so that you went down this career path as opposed to choosing to stay in men’s wear design?
I always had an interest in antiques and interiors as well as fashion. While I was studying menswear, I was also selling antiques online. When I graduated I met an interior designer in London, whose style I really admired. So I ended up going to work for him, and that’s how I got more involved with interiors. It wasn’t something that I decided, it happened quite naturally.
Then what helped you to make the decision to venture out on your own after working with that architect that you mentioned?
I always knew that I wanted to have my own thing. When I was working full time, I started designing fabrics. I began putting more work up online, and I started doing much more drawing. Then, eventually, I got a few commissions — enough that allowed me to set my own thing up. I worked quite hard to get my work out there, so that I could be able to go out on my own.
What avenues did you pursue to increase your exposure?
Obviously, I’ve had a lot of work up on Instagram from the beginning. But, early on, I started making products like cushions, fabrics, and prints of my work. I had a lot of product that I could sell. I just tried to make sure that I had my work out there as much as I could. Eventually it began being published in magazines.
Do you do all of your fabrics in-house or are you licensing your designs through a fabric company?
It’s full-time in-house. Coming from a fashion and interiors background, I always appreciated good fabric. After I sketch up the design, I’ll print them out and work with a factory to produce them in very small runs to be used in my cushions and other products.
Can you describe what your studio’s like? Do you share space with others? What is it like when you are there?
I work with my friends in an art gallery where I have a space in the back. It’s really nice because it’s very close to where I live, five minutes away. I have this corner of a room that I’ve painted pink. It’s where I work on all of my projects.
What’s a typical day in the workroom like for you?
I go in every day because there are lots of new things happening. I always have meetings and a variety of projects to work on. Sometimes I’m working on foreign accounts, sometimes I’m drawing, other times I’m painting pottery or sourcing fabrics.
Voluta and Luca Cushion by Luke Edward Hall
You describe your aesthetic as being informed by a love of history, an appreciation of beauty, and a sense of playfulness. Do you have any specific historical influences that you find inspiring from which you pull inspiration?
I draw inspiration from history because often I’m inspired by the stories. I love looking back at ancient Greek myths and legends, also English folklore. I love reading about times in history, like the 1920s and ‘30s, especially in London. I’m quite nostalgic.
Your work is very sophisticated. How do you draw the line between playfulness and something that’s considered kitsch?
The thing is, I do like a little bit of kitsch, but I don’t want what I do to be so gaudy and outrageously mad that it becomes off-putting. I think you can be playful with color and print without sacrificing elegance and sophistication, which is a nice balance for interiors. I love playing with tradition or history, and trying to achieve the balance of pairing something very old with something very new. Curating the right pieces together is always a fun process.
I feel like today people consider minimalism and modern design as being somewhat synonymous, especially when we’re talking about interior spaces. Your approach is anything but minimal and yet reads as modern. Do you think there is a shift in the consumer market towards a more “decorated” approach?
There’s a general shift toward people being more interested in a more maximal approach, which I think there’s lots of reasons for that. Like with fashion, things come in cycles. I don’t really think of my lifestyle as maximal…it’s more that I just like being surrounded by my “stuff ”. I like having lots of color and pattern, and that look is typically classified as maximalism. The thing with maximalism in the interiors I like, is that it offers a little bit of a fantasy. I guess that’s why I look at the past, as well. I like the idea of creating something magical into which you can escape. The world we live in at the moment is quite grim at times. I think that’s partly why more people are taking to this trend because perhaps they need an escape from the everyday as opposed to living in a white box.
Based on your Instagram, it appears as though you travel a great deal. Is it a source of inspiration as well?
Travel is a huge source of inspiration. Italy is a really inspiring place for me to visit and work; I go there a lot and bring inspiration back. I always feel refreshed after going to the countryside in England because I find the city to be quite intense. Travel for me is just as important as my studio days. When I travel, I end up working every day, and always get re-inspired by the many things I come across.
You’ve collaborated with so many high profile companies already across several different luxury consumer markets, Burberry, Drakes, Christie’s, Stubbs and Wootton, and even Samsung, what have been some of your favorite collaborations to work on and why?
They’ve all been great for their own reasons. I only collaborate when it feels like the right fit. It has to be something that I feel really passionate about and connected with. Burberry is an amazing company to collaborate with because their reach is worldwide. It was very exciting when that opportunity happened. I also have always loved Stubbs and Wootton, so it was really fun to work with them to turn my drawings into embroideries for their slippers. Drakes was also a great collaboration that gave me the opportunity to see my drawings on silk for ties and scarves. It’s a great experience working with other people when they do something really well. It allows me to add my touch to it, and we come together and create something beautiful.
Luke Edward Hall x The Store ‘Face Bowl’ (available from The Store x Soho House Berlin and The Store x Soho Farmhouse)
Vases From Left: Lemons, 2016, Flower Prince, 2017 (Personal Collection)
You’re working on many different projects that span different disciplines, do you do all the your own business development or do you work with an agent?
It’s sort of a mixture. I don’t employ anyone. I just work by myself. I have an agent for Europe and they get me more illustration jobs. Most of the work comes to me, though. If the project involves working with a bigger company, I may hire someone short-term if needed, and I have relationships with vendors to produce what needs to be done.
I feel like drawing, itself, is such pure, analog art form. Now, we’re living in a post-digital world, all connected to a screen, advertising ourselves online on whatever platform we can. Do you think that social media and the Internet are simply just an extension of the artist’s tool kit?
I don’t think everyone has to engage in social media. I completely appreciate the people being like, “Oh, I’m not doing it. I’m not doing Instagram,” and that’s totally fine. For me, I like having a visual diary to see and process what I’m working on. I’ve always liked working on blogs and documenting what I’m doing. I’ve received lots of work through Instagram. When I got my first big job, which was for the Parker Palm Springs, it came from Instagram. So I owe a lot to it really, because it’s helped me. If you don’t need it, fine, but it can definitely be a great tool. If you can get greater exposure, then I think, why not make the most of it?
Warhol said, “Being good in business is the most fascinating kind of art.” You have an ecommerce portal on your website, you also have 1stDibs shop, and you did a pop-up shop last year. I’m curious what entrepreneurship means to you. How do you maintain the balance between art and commerce, being commercial without sacrificing your vision?
I’ve always been fascinated by retail. And while I like drawing and painting, I also like making products. When I first started selling antiques online, I’d go buy old antiques and restore them for resale on 1stDibs. I love graphic design and the process of branding things, so creating a variety of products with my artwork was natural. Now, I’m thinking about doing a little exhibition next year, so I’m setting aside time to work on those pieces. Maybe people think, “Oh, well, you’re not a real artist, you’re more of a designer.” I don’t really mind what label I’ve got. I think you can have all of these worlds that fit together, and I quite enjoy doing it.
I saw images online of your pop-up shop. Do you ever think you’ll venture into doing a little shop, a flagship store, for all your creations to live within?
At some point, I will probably do some shop type of thing. The thing is that at the moment I’m doing one-off pieces. I almost went down the route doing more products, but I’m now fixating more on hand-made ceramics, which are hand-painted and all one-off pieces. During the holiday season, I make more pieces and products for online and pop-ups. Right now my focus is on projects like the exhibition next year, which is going to be drawings, prints, and ceramics.
Do you have any advice that you might give to a young person considering to choose this as a career path?
Make sure you feel it pulling your heart; be brave. Go for it and believe in yourself. When something is completely yours, I think people always pick up on that. So do what makes you happy, because that’s what people respond to. You need to couple that with being on it as a business, thinking about social media, and having a bit of a strategy to give you direction. I do think you do need to have both sides – a creative side and a business side – in order to make it a success.
You’ve worked on many of amazing projects and I’m sure you only want more, but what do you envision for yourself in your future?
That’s the thing. I don’t actually have a plan. I’ve got so many exciting stuff happening, like the exhibition next year, and I’m going to carry on doing more interior projects. I’ve only been doing it for two years by myself so there’s still a lot that I want to do. I’d love to do a book and I like the idea you have, maybe, opening some sort of showroom. But for now I’m also just playing it by ear. I’m happy to just let things happen.For more information visit lukeedwardhall.com
Photography by Eric White | Styling by Donte McGuine |Model Cordell Broadus | Production by Sahtia Rivers at the Jeffries Group | Grooming by Marcelo Gutierrez
Coat by ICOSAE at ODD92, Sweater and Shirt by Faith Connexion, Pants by Calvin Klein, Shoes and hat by Dior Homme
Cordell Broadus, son of Hip-Hop legend Snoop Dogg and a former football star, has made his entrance onto the global fashion stage. Collaborating with Joyrich, walking the Philipp Plein show, and being tapped to star in the MCM campaign – Cordell Broadus is a name on the rise. Blessed with dashingly good looks and a charming smile, not to mention star-studded genetics, it is no wonder that he has taken the fashion sphere by storm. Cordell Broadus took us on a trip through Brooklyn while donning some of the men’s wear season’s best. Take a step into the world of Cordell Broadus in this Iris Covet Book exclusive.
How does your experience in the fashion world differ from what your life was like as an athlete?
Everything is different – it’s different in every way… In football it’s all about the team, traveling, and a group mindset. Fashion is more individual and it’s about expressing yourself.
What has been the most exciting development in the fashion world? (ex. Diversity, gender fluidity, etc.)
ME! I’m an exciting development in the fashion world [laughs]. I really feel like I am because I was only considered a football player, people associated me with the football or the music industry. Now, my identity has changed and the way people see me has changed. I’ve lost over 25 pounds and dyed my hair red! That’s development.
How would you describe your personal style?
Funky. I like outfits that remind me of different eras. I love the ‘70s and the ‘80s. The collection I’ve created with Joyrich is very loud and colorful, like the ‘80s.
Who are your biggest sartorial influences?
James Brown. Self-explanatory.
You’ve recently been chosen to star in MCM’s campaign, how did you feel when you were chosen and what does the MCM brand mean to you?
It was kind of crazy when I heard they wanted me for the campaign. The campaign images are so cold – that shit was fire. Growing up, MCM was big in LA. Now I’m working with them in my new career path, so it’s deeper than just a picture.
Tell us about your runway experience with Philipp Plein.
Man, that shit was so lit! I walk out on the runway and Future is performing, all my homies are in the crowd making noise. I felt like a rockstar. Then when I turn around my grandfather, Poppa Snoop, is walking out. It was a grandfather-grandson moment that I’ll never forget. I really want to thank Philipp Plein for making all that possible and for having la familia involved.
Who is your dream collaboration and why?
Willow Smith. I love that she shows how vulnerable she is through her work.
Which do you prefer, New York or LA? Why?
Where do you see yourself ten years from now?
I’ve always been fascinated with real estate and the life of Conrad Hilton. I’d love to own a hotel. Cordell Broadus: real estate mogul, ya dig?
What problems do you see in the fashion industry and how do you think the “New Generation”, a tribe you dubbed on Twitter, can help address these issues?
I’m a positive person, I try not to see negativity, but the fashion industry can improve on it’s diversity on every level; I mean representing different genders, sexual orientation, race… everything. Inclusivity is everything to me. I’m all about the New Generation and giving young people a voice and a creative platform. I remember my first day of 5th grade at a new school… I didn’t know who to sit with at lunch. I had no friends. I didn’t know anybody, so I just followed these two kids the whole way so it didn’t look like I was by myself! [Laughs]. Every time they’d turn to look back at me – I’d feel so awkward! [Laughs] I don’t ever want anybody to feel like that. Everyone needs a seat at the table. I feel like that’s what the New Generation is going to bring to all platforms, not just to fashion.
When designing for Joyrich, where do you look for inspiration? What inspires you now?
I look for people who shaped the culture. My dad truly influenced hip-hop and I wanted to start with something inspired by hip-hop culture first. I’m excited for the Joyrich collab that will drop in January.
What are your thoughts about the recent outcry for equality and addressing abuse allegations both in Hollywood and in fashion?
I think #TimesUp. I’m inspired by and proud of the women and individuals who speak out in every industry, not just ones in the spotlight. I really want to support them and all women. I’m all about empowerment. Let’s make this a revolution.
Who is your biggest hero?
Muhammed Ali. I related to his decision to not go to the Vietnam War. He threw out all of his titles because overall none of that stuff meant anything to him. People thought I was crazy for quitting football my freshmen year, even though I had so much potential and probably would end up making it to the NFL. I thought it was more important to follow my heart and what I believe in. Muhammed Ali did the same – he shaped our culture and broke boundaries. He’s my hero. He was at my last high school football game, he watched me score two touchdowns in the National Championship, that’s all I needed. Now we’re finna walk these runways, take these pictures, and shoot these movies. Ya dig?
Top by Y/Project at ODDBK92
Special thanks to Patrick Meijer and Kendall Werts @ The Jeffries Group
Eric N. Mack is the rule-breaking artist creating large-scale paintings from unexpected materials and forms into soft-sculpture, expansive figures in space.
Portrait photography by Tiffany Nicholson | Interview by Ashleigh Kane
Coat by Versace, Hat, Shirt, Trousers and Shoes Artist’s Own
Eric N. Mack’s future as an artist was decided at birth, when his mom Lisa Scott and his dad Miller Mack honoured him with the middle name National, after Washington D.C.’s National Gallery of Art. It was there, in the 80’s, that his parents met while his dad worked at the gallery as a plexiglass specialist, building and maintaining the vitrines. A young Eric often went along for the ride, getting to know works by artists such as Vincent Van Gogh in the process. Admittedly, he wanted to “study everything” in order to allow himself to naturally grow inclined to whatever felt right. Eventually he chose to major in sculpture and painting at Yale University School of Art – an institution that artists such as Brice Marden, Chuck Close, and Richard Serra attended, and all of whom Mack admires greatly. He is also a huge fan of Robert Rauschenberg and had the pleasure of working in the late artist’s studio in Florida earlier this year.
Like Rauschenberg, Mack’s own works toy with context and ideas of re-use in order to create new forms – large-scale works that he calls paintings. Constructed from a patchwork of materials and surfaces that push silk, frill, or even an old t-shirt, into new frontiers, Mack forgoes painting’s rectilinear relationship with canvas for infinite new possibilities of presentation. Inspiration comes from his adopted city of New York, which he’s lived in for over a decade, as well as fashion – his dad once owned a clothing store – and art history – a recent fascination is the 1970s French art group Supports/Surfaces. He also places great emphasis on building knowledge.
Beneath the draping, swooping and layering of the surfaces that shape Mack’s canvases, is a melting pot of art academia and consideration for the important contributions of artists who came before him. Even in his spare time, he’s never not looking to build upon his own awareness of New York’s art legacy. Below, he let’s us pick his brain.
A Lesson in Perspective, 2017
Can you talk to us about your studies. What were you interested in?
I wanted to study everything and I had a real interest in the different principles of art; photography, sculpture and painting. I went to an arts high school in Maryland so in college I wanted to continue without having to choose one or the other, and I wanted to be able to develop a natural relationship to art. Immediately when I got to (The Cooper Union) I took all three of those courses. It was really liberating. That school was super important because it was about thought and innovation, and not so much about restriction. By the time I had graduated, painting had become a lot more serious to me in terms of the history and its conceptual concerns. It became a space that was meaningful for me to continue to question, and the results that I came up with made me want to think more in depth about it.
When did you realize that you could make a career out of being an artist?
When I came to New York, I had so many questions. I was so excited to be here because it was my dream place. I interned at a gallery called Rivington Arms in the Lower East Side which was representing Dash Snow at that time and a number of other artists. I wanted to better understand the workings of a gallery, the relationship between an artist and a gallerist, and how an artist could be supported in that way. I was looking at it, not from an artist’s vantage point, but from an administrative aspect. From there, I ended up getting a job in Garth Weiser artist’s studio, and I learned a lot from him. By seeing his process, I learned that people could earn a living from making work, and that if I worked hard enough, it could be a possibility for me as well.
You took a lot of time to develop your foundations as an artist – through art school, research, interning, working for artists, even on the admin side. Why was that important for you to gain that experience?
I think there are times when it’s important that an artwork has academic context, and that the artist is informed and generous about the place that the work comes from, in relationship to art or the history of painting, or a relationship to a previous zeitgeist. People such as Brice Marden, Chuck Close, Richard Serra all came from Yale, and are monumental figures that I look up to.
They went through that training and education and I feel like it was really important for me to do that and make sure that I was here for the long haul and not just being frivolous or superficial.
Previously you’ve referenced Robert Rauschenberg and Sam Gilliam as influences – do they still inspire you or does that lessen as you come into your own as an artist?
I really appreciate art and that’s how I’ve come to be an artist. Rauschenberg is somebody I’ve thought about for a long time and even more so this year because I did a residency at the Rauschenberg Foundation in Captiva, Florida. I got to work in his studio and that was monumental for me. That kind of closeness, to be able to examine the space… it was compelling to be able to see what his brand of innovation afforded him. I gave myself permission to actively think about his legacy after that. But there are others; Basquiat, of course. I would say he is somebody I’ve thought about. He died the year after I was born. I’ve also been thinking of Richard Tuttle – people that have been around for a long time that have served their practices in really strong ways.
Why do you identify specifically as a painter?
It has to do with the lineage that I feel like the work has come from. I see painting as a lot of things, but mostly there’s a relationship to surface and material. I’ve been thinking about the canvas and how painting that revolves around framing contexts that mostly have to do with a rectilinear relationship. I’ve also been thinking about the tools with which we identity as existing with the history of painting. I feel like there hasn’t been much advancement in terms of the apparatus involved with painting, or that any advancement ends up being forgotten in history.
I’ve also been thinking about this movement in Paris called Supports/ Surfaces where painters dealt with space and structure, including surface. Many of these painters are being shown a lot more now, and I see that the work they did as having a part in advancing the technology of painting – in breaking it out of its reductive frame for it to become more tangible and to speak more directly to histories of materiality.
Did you immediately begin working in large scale or was that something you worked up to over time? Was it intimidating to make paintings that large?
I think what I regard as large has changed over time. One of the things I started thinking about after grad school was how to push the identity of the work. One of the biggest moves I made was doing away with the wooden stretcher bar convention that painting has had for a long time. I began moving towards the space in the center of the room.
I’ve long been thinking about monumentality, or about a relationship to a monument, and the challenge for me would be to be able to maintain the kind of detail, care and attitude that the work possesses. So it’s been a constant, very careful, thought process for the work to physically expand. But it feels very natural to the concerns of the work.
You impact the meaning of everyday materials – where do you source or find what you use in your work?
It’s definitely a combination of things because I don’t want there to be one space that could dictate the work’s meaning due to where it comes from. There are times when I buy things from a store, a home goods interior store, or I’ll go to a clothing shop, but mostly it’s thinking about daily tasks and finding something that would be challenging to use as a material. Or something that continues the process of questioning surface and materiality.
So it’s not planned, as in, you don’t go out with an object in mind to bring back?
I go out looking for certain forms. Right now, I’m kind of obsessed with frill – like gathering, ruching – so I’ve been going out looking for it because it ends up having a nice finish. And there’s this relationship with elegance, a kind of frivolity, excess, like Rococo or Baroque. There’s also a supposed coldness to the rigid white wall that often comes with the gallery context, so I’ve been thinking about what would be a really active contradiction of the space.
Palms on Cotton, 2017
Implied Reebok or Desire for the Northeast Groover, 2016
Are you aware of what the painting’s meaning is before you begin or do you add meaning as you go?
It’s nice to have epiphanies while the piece is developing, but I like to be aware. I think the titles end up dictating a starting point that brings people closer to the work or maybe the titles make it more complex. For me, they end up being a finalizing gesture.
How does New York inspire you and your work?
I live in Harlem and I work in the Bronx, so my daily commute to the studio ends up being really influential. I take note of things or I take little snapshots on my phone. It’s nice to think about the city as a space of inspiration.
What do you do when you’re not creating art?
Even the hobbies that I have can end up relating to the work or end up being really nice points in which I can mine certain aspects from.
Can you talk about the importance of abstraction in your work?
I see abstraction as a strategy. I feel like it has social relationships and also aesthetic relationships. Abstraction ends up being a stand in or a symbol for a more complex idea, or to make something more tangible. An abstraction can be present, but it can also obscure and hide – hide information or hide physicality – and there’s definitely that in my work.
I think a lot about abstraction in relationship to a kind of fragmentation, where I think about pieces and parts that have really explicit origins. This is in relationship to what we were talking about before. Like, where does the work come from? Where does fabric, or whatever it is, come from? It’s mostly about how the fragment reads, how the fragments communicate, and how that can be unified to mean something collectively different, or to communicate some kind of emotional complexity.
Do you think your work comments on the value of art, in that you reuse materials and fabrics and give them new meaning through context?
I think if something can be salvaged and reused and seen in a context that is beautiful or expresses some kind of meaning, then that can be very transformative for the viewer or the maker.
Hair by Austin Burns using Oribe, Makeup by Agata Helena @agatahelena using NARS cosmetics, Art Direction by Louis Liu, Editor Marc Sifuentes, Production by Benjamin Price
BALTIC Artists’ Award 2017, installation view, BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead. Courtesy: © 2017 BALTIC; Art Work Photography by John McKenzie
For more information visit eric-mack.com