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September 1 2014

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4 posts tagged "Maryam and Marjan Malakpour"

Dressing for Fame: A Queen Latifah Video, a Never-Ending Cher Shoot, and More Styling Experiences From Maryam and Marjan Malakpour

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If celebrity status is conferred in red-carpet appearances, then no actress today can compete without the help of just the right stylist. As Kerry Washington once told Glamour after she noticeably upped the sartorial ante, “There were a couple of actresses whom I felt were having the upper hand careerwise—because they knew how to work that red carpet.” A carefully crafted collaboration between stylist and client, the perfect look can create an indelible impact on agents, casting directors, and those of us watching from the sidelines. Straight from the epicenter of all things celebrity, we’ve asked some of the industry’s top stylists to share their experiences and impressions from their perch above Tinseltown. With our Dressing for Fame series, we bring you an exclusive, insider look at everything it takes to create those iconic moments captured by a million photo flashes.

Maryam and Marjan Malakpour

Maryam and Marjan Malakpour

With a client roster that reads like a who’s who of music’s living legends (think Cher, David Bowie, and Keith Richards), Maryam and Marjan Malakpour have mastered the rock god(dess) aesthetic. When they’re not busy with NewbarK, their line of impeccable flats, the two spend their time on the set of music videos and photo shoots, keeping the likes of Heidi Klum and Julian Casablancas ahead of the trends—Maryam even lends her magic Malakpour touch to Angelina Jolie on special projects. Here, the sisters talk to Style.com about how Queen Latifah played a role in their journey, why styling on set is better than the red carpet, and a Cher shoot that took a cool 22 hours to complete.

How did you get your starts styling?
Marjan Malakpour: For me, it was kind of by surprise. At the time I was living in San Francisco and came here to L.A. to help Maryam, who had been styling a Queen Latifah video shoot. I never left.

Maryam Malakpour: Styling for me was not a planned thing. I didn’t even know that stylists existed until I met a Japanese stylist and she asked me if I would assist her on a few projects. I never interned at a magazine or with a huge stylist to really know how they do it. I would say if I could take time back, I would have done that, interned at Vogue or for Carine Roitfeld—she is my hero!

As designers of the brand NewbarK, how do you maintain a balance between life as stylists and designers?
Marjan: Sometimes it’s very challenging because they are both very full-on projects. But I feel like by now Maryam and I have figured out how to give each area its time. Somehow it works out between the two of us.

Maryam: I do most of the designing for NewbarK, and then present them to my sister. Then together we make edits and comments and changes. I have to get up very early to give time to styling and e-mails and sometimes research for the next inspiration. Most of the time it’s all happening simultaneously when I’m alone in my studio office at home and everyone is sleeping.

Do you think being a designer informs your work as a stylist or vice versa?

Marjan: Definitely. Maryam does the design for NewbarK. Because of styling, every season we know what is missing out there or how to make the design better. Basically, this is how NewbarK started. At the time there really weren’t any cool flats besides ballerinas and we wanted something that was more rock ‘n’ roll.

Maryam: For the kind of brand that we have, it’s all about what people need and want and can’t find. So being a stylist really helps us know that. I am shopping all the time and see great things and not-so-great things and pretty much know what works and what doesn’t work for a certain type of person. Also, most brands hire stylists to consult and gather information and ideas for them. In our case, we are all in-house, designing, styling, researching ideas and inspiration—we’re doing it all.

What was your “made it” moment?
Marjan: I think when I met David Bowie for “The Next Day” music video I shot with him—that was pretty amazing.

Maryam: When I got my first gig with the Rolling Stones.

What do you find more challenging, photo shoots or red carpets?
Marjan: It really depends on whom you are working with. I can tell you the last photo shoot I did with Cher, who is a great client of mine, went over 22 hours. My alarm clock went off for the next day in my pocket.

Maryam: I prefer photo shoots. It’s more that I love to create a moment that’s about storytelling rather than just a look on a red carpet.

How do you challenge yourselves to keep things fresh, even after working with some of the same clients for years?
Marjan: Always looking for and keeping up with cool and upcoming designers.

Maryam: It never gets old, as long as you keep dreaming and being inspired and love what you do.

Photo: Roger Davies

Beautiful Apparition: Jamie Bochert Croons for NewbarK

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“It’s a kind of journey to self-discovery,” explained Floria Sigismondi, the artist who famously directed Tilda Swinton and David Bowie in the rock star’s smash music video “The Stars (Are Out Tonight).” Sigismondi was talking about her Fall ’14 film for the sisters Maryam and Marjan Malakpour’s bare luxury accessories line, NewbarK. The short stars a writhing, slithering Jamie Bochert in the designers’ simple red flats. Making its online premiere exclusively here, the film also serves as the debut of Bochert’s latest musical effort, and features a haunting track from the model-cum-singer-songwriter. “The film was shot in Los Angeles in a house stripped down to its most simplistic form—it seems to emit a lot of ambient vibe,” said Sigismondi of her darkly surrealist offering. “I think this was especially a great opportunity to expand on the idea of non-cohesive images being strung together to create a kind of new reality,” she continued. “Jamie encompassed that character really naturally.”

That Bochert organically embodied Sigismondi’s gothy, abstract vision is no surprise. Bochert’s own artistic output is undeniably in sync with the longtime director’s dreamily sinister aesthetic. “It was inspiring,” commented Bochert. “I felt free and safe because I love Floria’s work, art, and authenticity.”

In L.A., Fashion Meets Art

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Wear LACMA

After two successful seasons, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art is set to release its latest Wear LACMA campaign, with resident L.A. talents Greg Chait of The Elder Statesman and Jennifer Meyer (past designers include Gregory Parkinson, Libertine’s Johnson Hartig, Juan Carlos Obando, and NewbarK’s Maryam and Marjan Malakpour). The initiative conceived of by Katherine Ross, wife of LACMA director Michael Govan, and member of the museum’s Director’s Circle, challenged the two local designers to create limited-edition wares based on the museum’s permanent collection. “The goal of this initiative is to present works of art from the collection in a new way,” Ross said. “Through this partnership we are able to highlight extraordinary works in the museum’s encyclopedic collection seasonally.”

Of his contributions, Chait told us, “I love the spirit behind the project most.” After experiencing the museum’s James Turrell exhibit, he felt compelled to create six custom cashmere tees and scarves boasting abstracted Native American motifs. Meanwhile, Meyer, Chait’s fellow CFDA/Vogue Fashion Funder, was drawn to Ed Ruscha’s painting Made in California. With the artist’s express permission, Meyer created two nameplate necklaces bearing the moniker “Made in California” in 18-karat yellow gold and 18-karat gold with white diamond pavé. “I think LACMA is incredible, one of the best museums around,” the designer said of the institution that’s been enjoying a resurgence of late. “It’s incredibly exciting that LACMA chooses to partner with designers rather than “artists,” so to speak…combining those two worlds.” It would seem Net-a-Porter agrees with that sentiment, as the e-tailer will, for the first time, sell a selection of the Wear LACMA offering on its Web site. Proceeds from the collection, which ranges from $180 to $6,450, will benefit the museum.

Wear LACMA will be available beginning November 19 on net-a-porter.com and beginning November 20 in the LACMA store.

Photo: Courtesy of net-a-porter

LACMA Fuses Fashion and Art

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After the success of its debut Wear LACMA range last fall—which featured designs by Gregory Parkinson and Libertine’s Johnson Hartig—the Los Angeles County Museum of Art is set to launch round two of the project. This time around, Juan Carlos Obando, NewbarK’s Maryam and Marjan Malakpour, and L’Oeil du Vert Fragrances’ Haley van Oosten have created limited-edition designs inspired by the museum’s permanent collection.

NewbarK’s designers were drawn to Félix Edouard Vallotton’s La Manifestation (1893) because of his use of black and white. “Black-and-white is my personal favorite, and a signature to NewbarK designs,” Malakpour told Style.com. The duo (whose Wear LACMA pouches are pictured, above) was also influenced by the exoticism and primitivism in Henri-Charles Guérard’s Monkey’s Hand (1888).

Obando, an L.A. native, pulled inspiration from Willem Danielsz van Tetrode’s sculpture Mercury for his bold bronze and gold jewelry, while van Oosten was moved by Antonio Montauti’s bronze relief The Triumph of Neptune and Europa. The perfumer created an exclusive new botanical fragrance, TONAE, which, of course, comes in a bronze bottle. “TONAE celebrates our yearning to be transported by divinity—as immortalized by Montauti’s Neptune conducting a swirl of coupling sea nymphs,” van Oosten said.

Wear LACMA is available, starting tomorrow, at LACMA and online at thelacmastore.org

Photo: Stuart Pettican.