August 2 2014

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10 Things We Learned About Kanye West From His GQ Interview


kanyegqThe Instagram numbers don’t lie: Kanye and Kim are one of the most influential couples today. With his A.P.C. and Adidas collabs, her custom Givenchy wedding gown, and a Vogue cover, Kanye and Kim are front-row at fashion week, and front and center in the pop culture universe. As August’s GQ cover star, Kanye spoke with the magazine’s Zach Baron about the relationship between celebrity and fashion, being a family man, and the power of influence. Here, ten things we learned about Kanye from his GQ interview.

1. He hasn’t “lost his dinosaur.” Marrying Kim “is the ultimate example of a person never losing his dinosaur. Meaning that even as I grew in cultural awareness and respect and was put higher in the class system in some way for being this musician, I never lost my dinosaur.”

2. He doesn’t “have fangs,” he’s just on the defense. “People have me pinned as a shark or a predator in some way, and in no way am I that. I wouldn’t want to hurt anyone. I want to defend people. I want to help people.”

3. But he’s totally unfazed when his and Kim’s life moments go viral. “My feelings don’t matter anymore.”

4. All he’s asking for is a little respect. “My goal is just to be respected as a man when I walk down the street with my family. I don’t care what your job is, you’re not gonna talk down to me, you’re not gonna try to get a rise out of me.”


5. He loves Carine. “Carine Roitfeld is the Walt Disney of what Tumblr is today. She is the Kanye West of what Tumblr is today. She’s the single most important person to what street style is today. And she was at the wedding seven seats down from Kim, who is one of the number one fashion plates of today.”

6. He understands the relationship between fashion and celebrity. “I guarantee you, I’m more than 50 percent responsible for every Balenciaga shoe they sell…But all honesty, no ego, I have a level of influence, and I have a level of respect for the designers. And we move product on the Barneys floor.”

7. He teaches us that ideas don’t have to be popular to warrant success. “I think Yeezus is the beginning of a completely new era of music. It was all new rules. It just broke every rule possible. None of the ideas were popular ideas.”

8. He’s inactive on Twitter out of respect for Kim. “If you look at half my tweets back then, they were always, like, funny tweets that I wouldn’t be able to say now. It wouldn’t be respectful to my relationship.”

9. He appreciates family values. “Family is super cool. Going home to one girl every night is super cool. Just going home and getting on the floor and playing with your child is super cool. Not wearing a red leather jacket, and just looking like a dad and shit, is like super cool. Having someone that I can call Mom again. That shit is super cool.”

10. He gets it. “The point of life is getting shit done and being happy.”

Summer Friday: Romping Around the Hamptons With Bettina Prentice and Her Son, Henry


bettinaprenticeblogLike the George Gershwin song goes, “Summertime, and the livin’ is easy.” Especially if your workweek is cut short thanks to “Summer Fridays.” The extra hours go a long way in making every weekend seem like a holiday. If you’re short on inspiration for your own Summer Fridays, just look to our new season-long series in which we ask industry people with cool jobs to share how they’ll be spending their free afternoons.

There are very few people who can seamlessly bring together the art, fashion, and social sets the way Bettina Prentice does. Maybe it’s because her company, Prentice Art Communications, throws some of the best parties in town—remember the Museum of Arts and Design 1920s gala a few months ago? But on summer weekends, this native New Yorker chooses not to roll with the city’s most-often-invited. Instead, you can find her at the family home in the Hamptons, spending time with the only VIP that matters: her toddler, Henry. Here’s how she spends her Summer Fridays:


“In a perfect world my husband would have Fridays off, but typically he can’t leave work early, so it is my day to pal around with my son, Henry. On summer weekends, I’m in my uniform of long boho dresses and sandals, with SPF head to toe. Henry’s up at 6:30 a.m., and after breakfast we go to Lake Agawam to feed the ducks or romp around the playground at The Little Red School House in Sagaponack. In the afternoon I love picnic lunches with my dear friend Casey Fremont and her adorable son, Rex, under a shady tree. We pull the kids around in a red Radio Flyer, much to their delight, and Rex, who is several months older, carefully holds on to Henry so he doesn’t fall out. Later, while Henry takes his nap, I read the Times‘ Weekend Arts section and tackle New York magazine’s crossword—good brain exercise. I haven’t made it yet this summer, but I am dying to go to sunset Fridays at Wölffer Estate Vineyard in Bridgehampton to see my friend Joey Wölffer and some live music.”


Perfect Pussy’s Meredith Graves Talks Shock Art, Fashion Blogging, and the Psychology of Sizing



“Festival fashion—that shit’s annoying,” says Meredith Graves, the front woman of diaristic noise rock band Perfect Pussy, over the phone. She’s not talking about the flower crowns and cutoffs that have become synonymous with Coachella per se, but the cultural appropriation that’s become rampant. “I’m the last person in the world who’s going to judge anyone for dressing in a way that makes them feel happy, but if I see one more girl wearing a fake Native American headdress, I’m going to start swinging. I don’t understand how people in 2014 can be so in the dark.”

The pink pixie-haired singer is excited to sound off on fashion right now—especially because, coming from a punk background, her interest in it has often been overlooked and even mocked. But the former seamstress has a lot of insights and optimism about the industry. Here, Graves candidly speaks on shock art; her favorite designer as of late, Samantha Pleet; and what she’ll be wearing when she plays Pitchfork Music Festival this Sunday. Safe to say, it won’t be like anything you’d see at Coachella.

In the past you’ve said that people often assume you’re not interested in fashion. Has that generally stopped happening?
On one hand, I’m extraordinarily interested in it and I’m not the type of musician who’s going to be favorited by designers. On the other hand, I talk about it and I’m considered deeply superficial by people who are from where I’m from. So there’s no happy medium—but since I was a teenager, I’ve always been picked on for the way I dress, so I’m kind of used to fashion being something I love that no one else understands.

What was your reaction when you first started seeing your band’s name in the headlines?
The people in our band have a strong background in the punk and hard-core scene, which means we’ve grown up with band names like Anal Cunt. For me, it’s not a big deal. I have friends in a Toronto band called S.H.I.T. This is just what I’m from. I think shocking art is pertinent to the genre we play. If people want to pay attention to us because of the name, that’s great; if they want to pay attention to us because we make noisy music, that’s great; if they want to pay attention to us because they like our politics, that’s great, too. I’m just really honored to be making music that some people like.

meredithgraves2It seems like everything happened pretty quickly.

It literally happened overnight. It was a fairy tale. But ever since I was a child, I’ve always felt like I was a magnet for strange circumstances. I’ve had every job over the sun: I’ve been a cake baker, a seamstress, and a bartender in a town with a thousand people in it. I read a lot of books, so I’m used to the strange plot of things happening to the strange girl out of nowhere. I just watched Funny Face for the first time the other day, and I thought, That’s me: I’m a weird, philosophy-loving mediocre mousy beatnik from the middle of nowhere who overnight gets taken to Paris and put in designer clothes.

How did you form a relationship with Samantha Pleet?
I’m a longtime fashion-blogging enthusiast. I was an early adopter of LiveJournal when I was a teenager, and I made friends sharing on fashion groups that I’m still good friends with today—one of them is Hannah Metz, the co-owner of the vintage shop The Loved One, who’s friends with Samantha. I’ve admired Samantha’s designs for a while, and we started talking through Instagram. We ended up hanging out in NYC a month ago, and I tried on a bunch of her new designs for Spring, and out of the goodness of her heart, she gave me this beautiful dress for a big photo shoot I had a few days later. I’ve worn it so much I feel like it’s going to yell at me.

There are a few other women I know who have that dress, and I’m honored to share their ranks: Maggie Gyllenhaal and one of the sisters from First Aid Kit. I think Samantha is a voice. Her designs are so beautiful. They fit me so well.

I would think that you would be the ideal customer because you have a good grasp on how clothes should fit from your seamstress years.
Let’s face it: I’m 5’11″, I’m a size 6 or 8, and I’ve got a 38-inch chest. There isn’t a designer in the world who wants to dress me. Nobody wants to put me in their clothes, because I look like a boy in a dress. So I find crazy thrift store stuff and hold out for friends like Samantha who design wonderful things for bodies like mine.

What are your thoughts on how the fashion industry handles sizing?
I was a high schooler during the era of the Eastern European models, when everyone looked 12 and weighed 90 pounds. I’ve always followed fashion, and I was a seamstress for a long time and I would fit women for gowns. I’ve seen what the old industry did to women psychologically, and the shift I’ve seen in the last few years has been exponential. I’m proud of people who are pushing against the program. I still don’t think there’s nearly enough representation, but it’s definitely improved.

meredithgraves1How has your style evolved since you started playing in bands?

I see it all as one continuum. People used to pick on me and say, “You don’t know who you are. You go through phases: You’re punk one day, the next day you’re wearing something that makes you look like you’re from the forties, and the next day you’re in a wig.” I went through a phase where I wore a wig all of the time and that was really fun. I think one of the most wonderful things in fashion is that you can do that. For someone like me who has a background in costume and theater, it’s fun to wake up every day and decide who I want to be. How I’ve dressed the last month or so is different from how I used to dress. Clothing and aesthetics make me incredibly happy. Even the anti-aesthetic is an aesthetic. Not caring about the way you look is a choice, and it shapes you and the way the world sees you.

Who are some of your favorite designers?
Margaret Howell and A.P.C. If I could just have a wardrobe full of those two designers, I would never need another thing in my life. That’s how I prefer to dress. I like simple, well-made clothes that make me feel like I’m in a French film circa 1961.

Will you be wearing anything special for your Pitchfork set?
The festival is definitely an event, and for me that means stepping it up and trying to elevate my style. Right now I’m planning on wearing a new dress that I love so much it’s hanging on the wall in my bedroom. It makes me feel confident.

Photo: YouTube; Steven Spoerl

Amy Sedaris Dresses Like a Scarecrow, Looks Good Doing It


Amy SedarisToday on, Amy Sedaris, author, comedienne, former Strangers With Candy star, and bona fide rabbit expert advises readers on how to care for their fashion bunnies. But when I spoke with Sedaris in her cozy Greenwich Village apartment, she had some fashion tales to share, too. For instance, last year, at her good friend Adam Selman’s debut presentation, Sedaris made an onstage cameo as a photographer (left), directing models as they posed in their silk shorts and swimsuits on set. “The other photographers thought I was a real photographer,” laughed Sedaris, who met Selman while the pair was working on a Dolly Parton video. “So they were mean to me—you know, pushy, bossy, aggressive. One photographer asked me what I was shooting for, and I was like, ‘Oh, there’s no film in this camera.’ Cuckoo!”

Selman, who made Sedaris’ late rabbit Dusty a custom awning to sleep under, designs a number of the actress’s dresses. “He’s great, and he’ll help me pick out shoes,” she noted. While her custom Selman wares are decidedly more demure than that infamous fishnet-and-crystal number Rihanna worked at the CFDA Awards, Sedaris insists that she wouldn’t shy away from a similar ensemble. “I’d do it for a laugh,” she chuckled. “I’d just wear it out every day. To the gym even. Everywhere.”

That would be a bold move (and one we’d fully support). But Sedaris admits that the other night, while preparing for an evening out on the town, she was at a loss for what to wear. “Adam was here, and I was being restless, so I Googled how you’re supposed to dress when you’re over 50. And it was, like, stuff I would never wear in a million years! Not ever!” So how does Sedaris, who at this particular moment was donning some Junya Watanabe-esque patchwork jeans and a white T-shirt, describe her personal style? “I usually dress like a scarecrow,” she deadpanned. Well, Ms. Sedaris, if that’s the case, it’s working for you.

Photo: Getty Images 

Public School and M.Patmos Win the International Woolmark Prize USA Regional Finals


Maxwell Osborne, Dao-Yi Chow

Following its 2014 CFDA victory, it was perhaps no surprise that fledgling brand Public School, helmed by Maxwell Osborne and Dao-Yi Chow, were selected as the regional finalists for the inaugural International Woolmark Prize for menswear. As soon as editors and insiders walked into Milk Studios’ penthouse last night, where the regional womenswear winner, M.Patmos, was also announced, it was easy to see which 100 percent merino wool ensemble the duo had turned out for the competition. Their gray high-necked hoodie and shorts look, crafted from boiled, felted wool and trimmed with bonded rubber, was the epitome of the brand’s street-meets-luxury menswear aesthetic. “We were up to our ears in wool!” laughed Chow when asked about creating the outfit. “We wanted to base it on the idea that wool is really the oldest fiber used by humans. We wanted to make something that was timeless and that could be worn in this lost civilization that was between ancient times and a postapocalyptic world.” Menswear judge Alexander Wang (a “formidable debate partner,” according to fellow judge and presenter David Granger, the editor in chief of Esquire) told us that he was looking for someone who had a “unique point of view. [The designers had to] fully understand who [they're] speaking to, what [their] brand is about, and where [they] want to take it.” No doubt, Public School ticked all the boxes. Osborne and Chow will now go on to design a six-piece wool collection, which will be presented when they compete against finalists from Europe, Asia, Australia, and India and the Middle East in London in January of next year. And they feel confident about their chances for taking the $95,000 final prize. “I think we’re cool because we’ve really thought out the six looks,” said Chow. “It’s going to be really sick if we can develop it in the way we conceptualized it.”

M.PatmosThe womenswear winner, who along with the menswear champions took home $47,000, was less of a sure thing—and the competition, which included Rosie Assoulin, Jonathan Simkhai, Nonoo, and Whit, was stiff. But given M.Patmos designer Marcia Patmos’ experience with knits (she used to design them for Lutz & Patmos), firm understanding of her customer, and standout wool getup, this award was, in retrospect, hers to lose. “I was thinking about a woman who was traveling, and she’s possibly going to lose her luggage,” Patmos told us. “She’s going to many countries in different climates, and what she’s wearing has to get her through all situations,” she added of her look, which featured seamless knitting, double-faced tailoring, a vegetable dye painting technique, and hand-knitting. The end result comprised a crisp cream-and-tan overcoat, ribbed stirrup leggings, cropped gray trousers, and a simple sweater dress. Indeed, Patmos’ model looked as though she was ready for anything.

Patmos is more excited than nervous about the 2015 finals in Beijing. And the designer revealed that she’ll be collaborating with artist Ryan McGinness on her upcoming Spring ’15 collection. “We’re doing something really good!” she beamed. We’re looking forward to it.