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April 19 2014

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Michele Lamy: Adorned and Unfiltered

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Michele Lamy

“These were some of the first shoes Rick ever made when he was in Hollywood,” said Michele Lamy at the opening of Show and Tell: Calder Jewelry and Mobiles last night. Lamy—the wife and muse of Rick Owens—was referring to a pair of sky-high, heelless black platforms that she wore while effortlessly climbing the spiral staircase of Salon94‘s uptown gallery. Lamy had come into town from Paris to style the exhibition, which showcased the oft-overlooked crowns, earrings, necklaces, and cuffs (most of which are for sale through Salon94) crafted by twentieth-century sculptor and painter Alexander Calder. “I screamed when I first saw the jewelry,” professed Lamy during our interview, pulling her tattoo- and ring-covered fingers to the chest of her Comme des Garçons vest. She flashed a smile, exposing her gold and diamond teeth. “I’m such a fan of his.”

In addition to styling models for the event, Lamy enlisted artist Matthew Stone to snap Polaroids (with Andy Warhol’s camera, no less) of guests donning Calder’s creations. Furthermore, she’s working with artist Youssef Nabil on a Calder-centric photo series, which will star such characters as Debbie Harry, Cindy Sherman, Björk, Joni Mitchell, and Cher.

Although Lamy is most frequently associated with Owens, whom she met in her forties, she’s led an enthralling and utterly eccentric existence all her own. “It’s like she’s had ten lives,” said artist Carson McColl, who flew in from London for the fete with his boyfriend, Gareth Pugh. Considering she’s spent time as a cabaret dancer, an L.A. club kid, a fashion designer, a law-school student, and a stripper, he was hardly exaggerating. Here, Lamy talks to Style.com about Rick Owens’ Spring show, Calder’s work, and her taste in jewelry.

This exhibition celebrates an artist who also made jewelry. Do you think that jewelry and fashion are art?
That’s always the question! Some think art is unique pieces, and the Calder pieces are unique. If you do your own piece, it could be art. It’s very difficult to know the difference. Calder’s pieces were made by hand, and I think that makes it art. Clothing is more difficult because you have to produce more of it.

Do you think what you and Rick create is art?
I hope our life is.

Are your and Rick’s creative visions always in line? Do they ever differ?
They differ, but he always wins. If you don’t have the same aesthetic values, it’s difficult to live with somebody. If you don’t have the same political ideas or whatever, it’s fine. But if somebody says, “Oh, I like this,” you have to know what it is and feel the same way. Because he’s the designer, he’s the one at the front, and then I’m navigating. He’s the captain, but I’m pushing him.

You’re the current.
Yes.

I recently interviewed Nicola Formichetti, and he said that Rick’s Spring show “changed everything” and that he and the other designers who watched it “were all jealous of his genius.” What is your reaction to that, and how did you feel about the show?
It was extraordinary to come [to the States] after the show, because it was around Halloween and there were people who went dressed as Rick Owens steppers! I told him immediately that this was a statement. The show was such a burst of joy and emotion. Those girls rehearsed themselves. It’s what they do, and all their hearts were in it. It was a burst of humanité, générosité, and loving, and everything was fantastic. Rick said that it was so real that he’s not going to try to top this show…of course, we’ll see. You know, in New York there was a discussion about [race on the runway], and then [people said] that Rick did this show and it was the answer. But it was just a spontaneous gesture—wanting to express how you feel about yourself to the world. Continue Reading “Michele Lamy: Adorned and Unfiltered” »