Back in the day—a.k.a. the late nineties, early aughts—I was the sole fashion writer at the New York Post. It was hard work, but great fun, thanks in large part to some very creative colleagues. In addition to covering the shows and whipping up weekly feature stories, I, along with my work BFF, photographer Danielle Levitt, produced a weekly trend page, the tab’s version of Bill Cunningham’s masterful and iconic “On the Street” column in The New York Times’ Sunday Styles section.
We used only eight or nine images for each “Street Smart Style,” which doesn’t sound like a lot until you actually start looking for eight or nine solid examples of a specific trend worth shooting. Danielle spent countless hours each week scouting downtown sidewalks, parties, and events for chic specimens. At some point, to lessen her load, she started pulling in help from her boyfriend, a guy named Todd Selby. I was totally cool with this; I really liked Todd. He was nice and very clever, plus he had a great eye. Ends up he was also a bit of a cultural provocateur.
My favorite Todd Selby stunt took place in 2001. It involved Todd and some equally cheeky friends setting up a shop in the far East Village called Imitation of Imitation of Christ—an intentionally provocative dig at the intentionally provocative meta-clothing company-cum-performance art project, Imitation of Christ. I broke the story in the Post, which, looking back now, was probably a huge conflict of interest. Oops! Whatever. Fashion coverage at the Post has always had the MO of being punchy, a little shit stir-y, and a lot of fun. And God knows the fashion world can always use more of that. I digress.
Of course, Danielle and Todd both graduated from bylines on “Street Smart Style” to much, much bigger things. Danielle’s celebrity and fashion photography is currently everywhere it deserves to be, read: the most influential print publications in the world. And perhaps you’ve heard of Todd’s website, The Selby, for which he travels the world photographing interesting people in their eclectic live- and workspaces.
Imogene + Willie.
Last summer, Todd visited Nashville to scout a few homes (I’m honored that my pad was among them) and shoot the ateliers of local designers for his new book, Fashionable Selby, which debuted last week. It features the creative confines of not one, but two Music City fashion brands: Manuel, our own “Rhinestone Rembrandt,” and Matt and Carrie Eddmenson of the denim company Imogene + Willie and my former employers. There are also colorful peeks into the lives of dozens of buzzy personalities represented, like Dries Van Noten, Carla Sozzani, and Isabel Marant, to name a few. Through and through, Fashionable Selby is intriguing and full of surprises—much like its author.
For more information, visit www.theselby.com.
Photos: The Selby