What does it take to be a New Yorker? According to Acne Paper editor in chief Thomas Persson, confidence, energy, vitality, and sometimes, audacity. London-based Norwegian though he is, Persson has spent a good deal of time thinking about New Yorkism of late: The magazine’s 14th issue, dedicated to New York, launches tonight with a party at New York’s legendary Four Seasons restaurant. (On its cover: echt New Yorkers like Fran Lebowitz, Richard Serra, and Mikhail Baryshnikov.) Considering Acne opened a new store in Soho this past June and its designer, Jonny Johansson, married his longtime girlfriend in NYC last weekend, it would seem an appropriate time for Persson to feature the Big Apple. And within the pages of Acne Paper‘s latest issue, he unearths striking images and surprising stories that would intrigue even the most jaded of New Yorkers. There are archive shots by Steven Meisel, a new shoot with Karlie Kloss, a look into apartments in neighborhoods throughout New York, and a series of portraits by Brigitte Lacombe featuring New Yorkers including Martin Scorsese (pictured, above), Jeff Koons (pictured, below), and Lena Dunham. But, adds Persson, “I would love for people to actually read the magazine. There are some really good stories in there. New Yorkers are great storytellers.” Here, he speaks with Style.com about his first time in New York, the difference between New Yorkers and Scandinavians, and the city’s suggestive skyline.
Why did you choose New York for your first city-centric issue?
I had been wanting to do an issue on New York for a long time. It’s a city that’s totally different from any other place in the world. And, it seemed like a good time because Jonny just got married here last weekend. He and his girlfriend met in New York 20 years ago and they had this lovely wedding, so it seemed like a good moment to do sort of a love letter to New York City.
What do you think makes New York so mesmerizing?
Because it attracts a certain kind of person. People who choose to live in New York City are often full of ambition and drive. They have an enthusiasm for what they’re doing and for life. So it has this electric intensity that you don’t find in Europe. You come to New York if you really want to accomplish something. There’s a very high level of energy. Also, because it’s so compressed. It’s this little island, it’s a small place and the whole world has gathered here. I think that is really unique.
How do you feel that your Scandinavian perspective frames your view of the city?
Well, I’m Norwegian and I feel very Norwegian when I’m in New York. I don’t know how to describe it. People here are extremely outgoing, which I like. In the northern countries we are much more introverted. Here in New York, we are overwhelmed by this outgoingness. It’s an extremely social place and people are very open. New Yorkers are very into introducing people to each other and that is very different than where I come from. In Scandinavia we have a general mentality where people are very in tune with the same things but there’s no real class system or anything like that. So that’s very different too. Here, you have an enormous difference in how people live. And their viewpoints and mentalities are so radically different.
What were your initial impressions of the city?
The first time here was in 1990. I was very, very young and it was me and my boyfriend. We just went out to the Sound Factory and Disco 2000 and it was quite funny. One of the first people I met in New York was Michael Alig, of all people. So my impression was it was just so much fun. The nightlife was very different back then and I thought it was super exciting with all the club kids and the music. All that blew me away.
Why did you choose the Four Seasons Restaurant as the location for the party?
It’s just such a beautiful, timeless, elegant, chic restaurant. For me, Manhattan is a man. It’s not a woman. It has these erections of skyscrapers. And this place is so masculine. It’s a bit corporate. And I think that’s very New York. I also think it’s one of the most stunning places in the world.
The issue ($15) is available at Acne Soho, 33 Greene Street, NYC.
If Hermès has become a byword in and of itself for luxury, part credit goes to Véronique Nichanian, the house’s longtime menswear designer. Her colleagues on the women’s side—including Martin Margiela (1997-2003) and Jean Paul Gaultier (2003-2010)—have come and gone, but Nichanian has been at her post for some 21 years, during which time she’s injected a dose of levity into the house’s super-rich offerings and, over time, introduced the world’s first men’s-only Hermès boutique, on Madison Avenue, and a bespoke service that covers everything from suiting to shirting to knitwear. In New York last week to promote the personalized services at the 690 Madison store, Nichanian sat down with Style.com to talk history, longevity, luxury, and the only two bespoke commissions she’s ever turned down.
I hadn’t realized how many years you’ve been with Hermès—21, isn’t it?
Yes, I don’t count. Yes, it’s a long time, it’s a long story—a nice story. A love affair, almost. Still happy.
You’ve seen the menswear business change enormously in that time.
Oh, yes. The business is changing, and men generally speaking are changing.
How has that affected you?
It’s more fun. Everyone’s more interested in the men’s business, how men dress.
Do you feel like it’s changed the way you approach design?
Not at all. I’m still doing the same thing, the same approach, still considering in the same way the men’s universe and trying to propose things which are right for now—modern and exclusive at the same time.
How has the customer changed? You’re now dealing with a business that’s much more global than the one you entered into.
It’s a big business now. But generally speaking, that’s right that men are much more self-confident in the way they want to dress, and feel much more their own personality. They look at the magazines, of course, but they know themselves much more; they want to express their personalities. They’re less focused on having a suit to be serious. [They want] to have their own mix, to choose. They’re much more aware of what different [brand] names propose—different cut, different feelings, different philosophy. I think it’s a question of philosophy when you choose a house more than another one. Continue Reading “Niche Appeal: Two-Plus Decades Of Véronique Nichanian At Hermès” »
Venus Williams has logged in multiple front-row cameos at New York fashion week over the years, often on the arm of André Leon Talley, and the 32-year-old’s journey from fashion voyeur to designer was complete when yesterday evening the tennis star unveiled her own sportswear line EleVen. “I wanted to show movement and style,” explained Williams, who eschewed a typical runway presentation for a stage dressed as a tennis court and hired athletes, including former middleweight champion Michael Olajide, former New York City Ballet dancer Albert Evans, and trainers from SoulCycle and Tracy Anderson Method, to “perform” in her Spring 2013 collection. “Whether they’re going to the gym or the grocery store, people wear activewear throughout the day, and I wanted to show that you can still feel comfortable and look good.” To that end, the clothes, which included women’s and men’s athletic apparel, featured classic workout gear (moisture-wicking shorts and sports bras in bright hues like peach and aqua) along with style-savvy pieces (A-line racer-back tennis dresses splashed in a watercolor print inspired by Monet’s Giverny). Style.com caught up with Williams backstage to discuss the new line, her design philosophy, and what article of clothing she prefers to wear at home. Hint: You’ve seen it a few times before.
Why the name EleVen?
It’s better than a ten. I want to encourage people to take it to the next level in whatever they do and push past their limits. There have been times in my own life, whether it’s because of society or other people, when constraints and rules have limited me. But when I pushed past those limits, I realized I could do more than I ever thought possible.
You’ve been a front-row fixture at NYFW for years. Were you inspired by other designers?
Absolutely. One of my favorites is Mara Hoffman. She does gorgeous patterns and prints. Part of designing is finding trends you’re inspired by and making them your own. Ultimately, it’s about creating simple, flattering pieces—it’s all about the lines.
Said like a pro. Did your friend ALT give you any tips when first starting out?
André is such an amazing guy. He’s an icon. I didn’t want to bother him because he’s so busy but he did give some advice. There was this floral print in my capsule collection and he’s like, “Oh that’s a winner. Make it into a dress!” So we did and I wore it at the U.S. Open—everyone loved it.
Are you more nervous before a match or a fashion show?
A match is definitely worse. When I’m on the court, I’m all by myself and there’s no one to help me out. With fashion, it’s a collaboration. It’s important for me to hear other people’s opinions. You’re trying to get the best idea out there, not just the one I like the most. In the beginning I tried to do everything myself, and then I realized that there are people who know what they’re doing, so I can rely on them as a team—that brought my stress level down a lot.
What’s your style like off the court?
Everybody laughs because I usually I walk around the house in a tennis skirt. I know, I have issues. Maybe because it’s easy to put on and has built-in shorts. I’m never out of character.
After such a busy summer, are you treating yourself to a vacation?
Vacation to me is chilling at home. I’m on the road a lot so I don’t want to even see any luggage. I love to read books and sing karaoke—just no shopping. I had a major a shopping addiction.
Don’t we all. Anything specific?
Diamonds. No seriously, it was a real problem. I’ve been clean for three months.
Juergen Teller, fashion photographer, requires no introduction. But there are less familiar Tellers. Juergen Teller, son. Juergen Teller, forest wanderer. Juergen Teller, escapee from the violin-making industry. Tonight, as he opens his small show, Irene im Wald, at The Journal Gallery in Williamsburg, Teller shines a bit of light on these hidden facets of himself. Commissioned as a supplement to the next issue of The Journal magazine, Irene im Wald has evolved into the first part of what Teller sees as a four-part series to be shot in the woods near the house in Erlangen, Germany, where he was raised. This first installment features photographs of Teller’s mother, Irene, and written reminiscences that caption some of the shots. The mood is meditative and a far cry from the arresting Marc Jacobs campaign images for which Teller is best known.
Both Teller and The Journal have bigger, showier openings ahead: Next month, The Journal will launch its new 35,000-square-foot space in Williamsburg with a show by Daniel Turner; Teller, for his part, opens his Francesco Bonami-curated show The Girl With the Broken Nose at the Palazzo Reale in Milan on September 20. In the meantime, Teller talks to Style.com about sonhood, fatherhood, One Direction, and his lack of anxiety of influence.
I suspect that for a lot of people who know your fashion photography, this show will come as something of a surprise. But do you see Irene im Wald as being of a piece with the rest of your work?
What I do for fashion and what I shoot for myself, I treat it differently, and I also treat it the same. If I’m shooting a campaign, I have to photograph clothes, I have to photograph shoes, handbags, and spectacles. There are commercial needs. I find it difficult to do, honestly, the pre-production. But I think I’m good at it, the fashion stuff. And once I’m shooting, then I’m just shooting. And for me taking a picture is always about a relationship; it’s intimate. So these pictures, they are intimate, too, but in a different way.
What inspired you to shoot your mom in the forest?
I was always drawn toward this forest—I played there as a child. And I’ve always had this urge to do pictures there. But when I tried, it never worked. I was trying too hard, I think. Then I moved to my house in Suffolk, in the country, and there I began to try taking landscape pictures again. And it was better, and that gave me the courage to go back to my mum’s place and take pictures there. So I went, and when I went, well, my mum was quite keen to go out walking with me, and so we were out walking and talking and that’s what happened.
The anecdotes that run with some of the photos—are those the things you were talking about? I mean, those are rather intense memories, like almost having the money your mother sent you in London stolen, when you were young and broke.
No, no. The things my mum and I talked about, they were banal. Like we were talking about my children. Normal things like that. But then when I came home to England and looked at the photos, these other stories came back to me. It’s all a love letter to my mother. She’s getting older. Continue Reading “Tell Tales: In Conversation With Juergen Teller” »
Massimiliano Giornetti created a Fall ’12 collection for Salvatore Ferragamo so Russian in its references, you wouldn’t have been surprised to find out that the peasant dresses or astrakhan-tipped coats came with their own bottles of vodka. (Cheers to that idea, or as the Russians say: Nazdarovye!) So it’s only fitting that for Fashion’s Night Out, the Ferragamo store on Fifth Avenue is celebrating Russophile-style, with a party hosted by Moscow style queens Elena Perminova, Anya Ziourova, and Miroslava Duma (pictured). (Russian pop band Tesla Boy will be making its first ever stateside appearance as well.) Street-style star Duma admits that it’s only for love of Ferragamo and Mother Russia that she’s making it to New York fashion week this season; taking care of her young son and implementing world domination plans for her Web site, Buro 24/7, don’t leave her much spare time for shows, or dressing for them. But Ferragamo’s invitation was too good to pass up. “People are really fascinated by Russia right now,” Duma notes. “Which makes sense, because we were hidden for so long. And for me, it’s a great thing, to be given the opportunity to show New Yorkers some Russian culture. And,” she adds, “to show them, maybe, it’s different than they think.” Here, Duma talks to Style.com about the Muscovite moment, borrowing and buying, and what she really thinks about Pussy Riot.
You’re one of a cohort of Russian street-style stars. Why do you think Russians are the It girls on the blogs right now?
Eh, we’re the new thing. You know how fashion is—there’s always got to be a new look, a new idea, a new story. For a moment, street-style blogs were the new thing; now they have to look for a new thing. So today it’s Russians.
Do you think there’s a distinctively Russian sense of style?
I think Russia is still figuring out its style. Look at the history—we had cultural stagnation for like, 75 years. And in the Soviet Union, it really was, you had to wait outside in the cold to buy toilet paper. That scene in Moscow on the Hudson, that was a real thing. So in the 1990s, when we discovered oil, and this sheik era of Russia began, of course everyone wanted to buy the most expensive things. And they wanted to show off. I was a kid when this was going on, but I remember a rich woman saying to me, Listen, if you want to buy Versace, you make sure you buy something with a big logo, because otherwise, it’s a waste of money. Even later, at the beginning of the 2000s, I can remember going to into bars in Moscow and seeing at least five girls wearing the same Dolce & Gabbana logo jeans.
Now, Russians are more educated about fashion, and people with money, they want something unique. Unique and discreet. A couture suit, maybe. If it’s one of a kind, they’ll spend for that. And also now, there are different ways to be stylish. I mean, there’s always a woman in Russia who, you know, she’s got a rich husband who doesn’t know about fashion but who buys all her clothes, and he wants her to look sexy. And there are these girls, and some of them look really great, I must say, who are the daughters of very rich men, and they buy whole looks from Céline or Proenza. They want to look super-cool. And there are also the fashion professionals, who travel for work, and who know the little vintage places in Paris or London, and they mix and match a lot of things.
Do you like getting photographed for street-style blogs? I feel like it would stress me out. I mean, how much time do you spend putting together your fashion week outfits?
Donna Karan said if it takes you more than 20 minutes to get dressed, then you’ve got a problem. I live by that. I won’t spend a lot of time planning my outfits, even at fashion week. But I don’t have to—I mean, my talent in life is, I have a good imagination to put together an outfit. I’m not the most beautiful girl, I don’t write poems, I don’t make music, I’m not the best tennis player, but I can create a look, you know?
Has the attention changed the way you dress?
Yeah…Sometimes I’ll do a crazy outfit I know fashion people will appreciate, but then I look at myself and think, wow, if my husband saw me now, he’d say, are you OK? In my normal life, I mostly wear, like, jeans. Simple things.
Do you own everything you wear that gets shot for the blogs?
I probably shouldn’t say this, but a lot of my clothes are borrowed. I’m sure people look at me and think, Pfff, this girl, she’s just a silly girl with a credit card with no limit. But that’s not true! Maybe no designer will loan to me now…I mean, isn’t the whole point that girls think I bought the dress from so-and-so, so they go out and buy that dress?
So I went to look at your Web site, Buro 24/7, but it’s in Russian. Looks good, but what is it?
Buro is a news site that provides quality information on fashion, art, architecture, culture, books, social life. Basically it’s a source that keeps you posted on everything interesting that happens in the world—the kind of stuff you can talk about with people you don’t really know, after you’ve talked about the weather.
Any plans to expand outside of Russia?
We already have! We recently launched, by license, a European edition based in Croatia, and we’re planning to open a London office very soon and start an English edition. Plus there’s a Middle East version I already have partners for, and we hope to do an Asian version of Buro, and so on.
I mean this kindly: You really don’t look like the mastermind of an international media empire. Like, you’re very cute.
Speaking of cute Russian girls out to change the world…
Are you going to ask me about Pussy Riot?
Well, they’ve really become a cause célèbre in the West. But I have a sneaking suspicion that opinions are different inside Russia. What’s your take?
My opinion is that these are very stupid girls. OK, so they have problems with the president—no president is perfect. But what did they change? Who did they help? How did they improve the situation in Russia? All they did was start an argument. And offend and humiliate people who believe in God. That’s it. I do a lot of charity work, there are many orphans in Russia who need help, so it’s not like all I see is rich people and fashion. I know there are things in this country that could be better. But this…Ugh. You know, people who say, oh, Pussy Riot is so great—I feel like, they don’t know what’s happening in Russia, they don’t know how Russians think, what they’ve experienced. I’d love to ask some of these people, who love Pussy Riot, if they can tell me anything else—any single thing—about the political situation in Russia today. I’d be very surprised if many people took the time to find out more about what’s happening.
So I guess you’ve got some opinions about this whole thing.
Everyone in Russia has an opinion. [Sighs.] Look, I love America. Everyone’s so kind and positive. They don’t know what it’s like in Russia—I mean, this is a silly example, but if you look at comments on street-style blogs, in Russia it’s all ugly. There’s a lot of envy. But in the States, you know, there’s some of that but there’s also people making compliments. You never get a compliment in Russia. So you have to understand with these girls, these stupid girls, that what they did was triple the negativity.
Anything you’re particularly looking forward to for Fashion’s Night Out? Are you a big Tesla Boy fan?
I just like that there’s this event to celebrate shopping. Sometimes I feel, men really are lucky—they’re strong, they don’t get pregnant, they can sleep with many women, and no one cares—but women, they have fashion. We have this pleasure, to go shopping and play with beautiful clothes, and no one ever takes it seriously but it’s important, you know? Russia, for more than 70 years, we didn’t get to shop. We didn’t have fashion. So maybe we appreciate this idea more than most people.