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PLASTIC PASSION
MARIA AYALA JEWELRY

  • Plastic Passion, vintage Maria Ayala plastic jewelry, featured on model Christina Anderson-McDonald. Photographed by Alexander Thompson for Ponyboy magazine NY.
  • Dramatic black and white vintage hoops designed by Maria Ayala, photographed on Christina Anderson-McDonald for Ponyboy magazine NY by Alexander Thompson.
  • Bold and dramatic vintage plastic jewelry designed by Maria Ayala. Photographed by Alexander Thompson on model Christina Anderson-McDonald for Ponyboy magazine NY.
  • Model Christina Anderson-McDonald wears colorful vintage plastic jewelry designed by Maria Ayala. Photographed for Ponyboy magazine NY by Alexander Thompson.
  • Vintage oversized mobile earrings designed by Maria Ayala, featured on model Christina Anderson-McDonald. Photography by Alexander Thompson for Ponyboy magazine NY.
  • Dramatic purple hoops and oversized plastic rings modeled by Christina Anderson-McDonald, designed by Maria Ayala. Photography by Alexander Thompson for Ponyboy magazine NY.
  • Dramatic oversized flower earrings designed by Maria Ayala, featured on model Christina Anderson-McDonald. Photography by Alexander Thompson for Ponyboy magazine NY.
  • Vintage flower power jewelry by Maria Ayala, photographed on model Christina Anderson-McDonald. Photographed by Alexander Thompson for Ponyboy magazine NY.
  • Oversized vintage lucite jewelry designed by Maria Ayala, featured on model Christina Anderson-McDonald, with photography by Alexander Thompson for Ponyboy magazine NY.
  • Vintage clear lucite jewelry designed by Maria Ayala and modeled by Christina Anderson-McDonald. Photography by Alexander Thompson for Ponyboy magazine NY.
  • Vintage glitter silver star earrings modeled by Christina Anderson-McDonald, designed by Maria Ayala. Photographed by Alexander Thompson for Ponyboy magazine NY.
  • Glittery 60s inspired jewelry designed by Maria Ayala, modeled by Christina Anderson-McDonald. Photography for Ponyboy magazine NY by Alexander Thompson.
  • Tearsheet of Maria Ayala earrings on model Christy Turlington in Allure magazine, photographed by Steven Meisel. Ponyboy magazine NY.
  • Lady Miss Kier from Deee-Lite photographed by Steven Meisel for Italian Vogue cover, wearing a Maria Ayala custom made ring. Ponyboy magazine NY.
  • Tearsheets from the pages of Elle magazine, featuring jewelry designed by Maria Ayala. Ponyboy magazine NY.
  • Drag sensation RuPaul featured in Vanity Fair and The Village Voice, wearing Maria Ayala jewelry. Ponyboy magazine NY.
  • The cover of Project X magazine featuring Maria Ayala jewelry. Ponyboy magazine NY.
  • Maria Ayala plastic jewelry featured on the pages of Spanish Vogue. Ponyboy magazine NY.
  • Supermodel Naomi Campbell photographed in Maria Ayala plastic jewelry. Ponyboy magazine NY.
  • Maria Ayala jewelry featured in a fashion editorial for Fad magazine. Ponyboy magazine NY.
  • Tearsheets of product shots of Maria Ayala flower earrings featured in Seventeen magazine. Ponyboy magazine NY.
  • Tearsheet of Cosmopolitan cover with model wearing Maria Ayala jewelry. Ponyboy magazine NY.
  • Tearsheets from The Face and Interview magazine of Maria Ayala jewelry. Ponyboy magazine NY.
  • Tearsheets from the early 90s of Maria Ayala jewelry. Ponyboy magazine NY.
  • Tearsheets of Club kid Kate Harwood and Mona Foot photographed in Maria Ayala earrings. Ponyboy magazine NY.
  • Photos of Kate Pierson from the B-52's and Debbie Harry from Blondie in Maria Ayala earrings. Ponyboy magazine NY.
  • Club girl Kate Harwood photographed in Maria Ayala Jewelry. Ponyboy magazine.
  • Deee-lite wearing Maria Ayala jewelry for their first album release. Ponyboy magazine NY.
  • Tearsheet of Maria Ayala from Fad Magazine. Ponyboy magazine NY.
  • Maria Ayala photographed at Susanne Bartsch's Copacabana club for US Weekly. Ponyboy magazine NY.
  • Tearsheet of Maria Ayala photographed for the Michael Musto's Village Voice column. Ponyboy magazine NY.
  • Tearsheet of jewelry Maria Ayala, photographed by Steven Meisel for Interview magazine. Ponyboy magazine NY.

PLASTIC PASSION

MARIA AYALA JEWELRY

Model Christina Anderson-McDonald courtesy of D&A Model Management. Photography Alexander Thompson, stylist Maria Ayala, hair Ahbi Nishman and makeup by Lorcan Devaney.

From Maria Ayala…

Back in the late 80s, I moved from Austin, Texas to the Big Apple and was infatuated with all things relating to Andy Warhol and his fabulous factory. Meeting Andy was a dream of mine. And it follows that I was infatuated with the life of the young and beautiful heiress, Edie Sedgwick. Warhol’s best and brightest 60s superstar, Edie attended the most fantastic parties and was featured in Vogue magazine. I adored her free spirit, dark side and her fabulous style. I attempted to emulate her by wearing the shortest mini dresses, black tights and the longest earrings that I could find at the hippest stores. In truth, I probably resembled Warhol superstar International Velvet more so, with her black back-combed mane and up-dos.

No store was as hip as the downtown boutique, Patricia Field, and I shopped there weekly for day-glo makeup, the longest and thickest false eyelashes, and quirky, chandelier earrings. I became friends with the staff at the shop and soon enough found myself working at the make-up counter on weekends, while attending F.I.T. At the time, I went out as much as I could to underground clubs like The Tunnel, Red Zone, Pyramid, The World, and Limelight.

During that time, the visual manager, Jojo Americo, himself a style icon, took me down to Canal Street to Industrial Plastics. I was in heaven and bought some lucite glitter pieces that I found extremely attractive. I rushed home to play around with them. I was able to whip up a pair of shoulder duster earrings and wore them out that evening to one of Michael Alig’s Outlaw parties.

The attention that these earrings received was instantaneous and tremendous. The very next day I went back with my boyfriend in tow. We filled a big bag with plastic shapes and soon had created a new, fabulous batch of jewelry, including gargantuan earrings, oversized rings and dangling bracelets for me to wear out that evening to Susanne Bartsch’s legendary monthly party at The Copacabana. I really wanted my larger than life jewelry to look like something out of the pages of a 1960s Vogue magazine editorial by none other than the infamous fashion editor Diane Vreeland.

It was at Susanne’s party that my boss, designer Patricia Field, noticed my eclectic night time looks (though my day looks were almost as over-the-top). She approached me about having my own 60s department at her shop, packed with vintage dresses, accessories and as much jewelry as I could make to fill the cases and keep sales rolling. Now this was way before Pat’s Sex and the City fame. Pat’s store was well known for its extreme mix of fashion and the staff were equally expressive and unique individuals, functioning as the foundation for this highly creative subculture. We sold to everyone from sexy, east village girls to club kids and trannies to uptown socialites. Pat was always way ahead of her time, very adept at selecting those talented young extroverts and providing them with the artistic environment in which to flourish.

Suddenly high fashion trends were shifting. The next thing I knew, fashion photographer Steven Meisel had shot model Linda Evangelista in head to toe Pucci for the pages of American Vogue magazine. This caused quite the sensation, and the resurgence for all things 60s in fashion came about. My vintage 60s department was booming and my jewelry was flying out the door. I worked in the boutique during the day, wearing and selling my jewelry, and went out at night wearing my latest creations. My boyfriend quit his day job and helped me assemble and design the jewelry, so that I could fill the cases at Pat’s.

Stylists, fashion editors, designers, photographers and pop stars shopped in my department, and it was this exposure that brought my 60s inspired earrings, rings and bracelets to the pages of fashion magazines. I, myself, was photographed by the great Steven Meisel for Interview magazine, and other features followed as well, including MTV’s House of Style.

Naomi Campbell wore my earrings for Paper magazine, and commissioned me to make a set of jewelry for her to wear to a Seventh On Sale benefit. Other models and celebrities were customers as well, including Rupaul, Kate Pierson from the B-52’s, Deborah Harry, and Rosey De Palma, just to name a few.

However no one brought my jewelry more attention than the “dee-gorgeous” Lady Miss Kier, singer for the overnight musical sensation known as Deee-Lite. Kier with her trademark flip hairdo and Pucci catsuits lovingly showcased my jewelry in her “Groove is in the Heart” video and on the album cover.

At this point, my business expanded and the wholesale orders would not stop coming in. Beyond the lucite shapes, I delved into casting molds and designing metals. However a few years later, a Seattle based band known as Nirvana took over the music world, and grunge was born. A young designer named Marc Jacobs showed flannel shirts and no jewelry on the runway for Perry Ellis, causing a ruckus in the fashion world. He wisely ushered in this street style movement, and other fashion designers were quick to follow the trend. Oversized lucite 60s jewelry was no longer in high demand. Grunge had taken over and with it a minimalism in accessories and jewelry followed. And at the same time I was experiencing great growth within the store, having taken over the womenswear buying and management, my focus was there. It was time to call it quits for making jewelry.

This editorial features my work from the late 80s to mid-90s. Diving into my sample archives, memories and the few tear sheets that remained, I took a nostalgic trip back to my youth and shared it with ponyboymagazine.com.

RYAN
MATTHEW COHN

  • Star of Oddities Ryan Matthew Cohn photographed in his Brooklyn home by Alexander Thompson for Ponyboy Magazine.
  • Oddities Ryan Matthew Cohn for Ponyboy Magazine photographed by Alexander Thompson.
  • Oddities star Ryan Matthew Cohn photographed in Greenpoint for Ponyboy Magazine by Alexander Thompson.
  • Oddities star Ryan Matthew Cohn photographed in New York City by Alexander Thompson for Ponyboy Magazine.
  • Ryan Matthew Cohn's extensive collection of skulls photographed by Sergio Royzen.
  • Skull collection of Ryan Matthew Cohn photographed by Sergio Royzen for Ponyboy Magazine.

RYAN MATTHEW COHN

THE BONE COLLECTOR

We find Ryan Matthew Cohn’s skeletal world extremely intriguing. Who wouldn’t, what with all those bones and that keen, stylish eye for all things archaic. So we thought we’d jump in a cab and head over to the ODDITIES star’s magnificent place in Greenpoint Brooklyn and snap some pics of this sharply dressed gentleman. His apartment is like a museum with so many hauntingly quirky relics that are on display. After wrapping a fun afternoon of hanging out and shooting, he invited us to jump into his sleek black 1955 Thunderbird convertible for a quick spin on a beautiful New York City day and, of course, we said YES!

PONYBOY:  Ryan, please tell us where you were raised?

RYAN MATTHEW COHN:  I was raised in Woostock which is in upstate New York.

PONYBOY:  When we first met you some years back you were the bass player for the rock band The Stalkers?

RYAN MATTHEW COHN:  I was actually the guitar player in the band.

PONYBOY:  Weren’t you also a jewelry designer?

RYAN MATTHEW COHN:  Yes, I still do quite a lot of jewelry design. I started out as an assistant to the gentleman who was the very first jeweler to work with Ralph Lauren. I did a lot of designing and small runs for Polo, Ralph Lauren, RRL and other companies for some time. That lead to the opening of Against Nature Atelier which I co-founded. The skills I learned as a jewelry maker/metalsmith have been a great addition to my current profession as an osteologist. All my metalwork for the skulls I make is done by hand. A lot of great detail and intricacy is involved in the design of my creations.

PONYBOY:  And how did you get into bone collecting?

RYAN MATTHEW COHN:  Bone collecting came naturally to me as I have been collecting this subject matter since I was very young. I had a fascination with anatomy ever since I was a child and was originally interested in going to college for medical illustration. Somehow I got sidetracked, joined a band, and went on tour for a while. All the while I would pick up antiquities along the way. My collection comes from many years of obsessively striving to find new interesting things along my many travels.

PONYBOY:  Did you ever think that you could make a living practicing your trade?

RYAN MATTHEW COHN:  I have always been the type of person to follow my dream and just do what I do whether that be on a professional level or doing things that bring me happiness. I have always had a good level of self-control and drive, but also the desire to learn everything that accompanies what I am doing at the time. I feel lucky that I picked a profession that was relatively unknown when I started and has now blossomed into a thriving business and lifestyle. I couldnt imagine doing anything else.

PONYBOY:  How did being cast on ODDITIES come about?

RYAN MATTHEW COHN:  Obscura (Mike Zohn and Evan Michelson) was approached by a production company called Leftfield, who are known for the show PAWN STARS. And they were interested in a show focused on our lives, business, and what we do. We basically sat in front of a camera and explained what we do on a daily basis. We really never thought we would get a call back due to how niche this subject matter is, but sure enough a month later we got the call saying that they wanted to proceed with the first season, and then the next season, and then the next.

PONYBOY:  You’ve obviously been catapulted into some kind of fame from being on television. What’s that like?

RYAN MATTHEW COHN:  It’s interesting to say the least. I never strived to become a TV personality; it just happened one day. I try and be nice and appreciative when people are interested in what I do. It’s been very rewarding to be able to share my knowlegde.

PONYBOY:  Do you get recognized on the street all the time?

RYAN MATTHEW COHN:  I do find it funny enough. It happens a lot at restaurants. It’s always funny and a little awkward when you find candid pictures of yourself online that you never knew were taken.

PONYBOY:  With the overwhelming archive of bones, etc. that you have collected, would you ever have any interest in opening your own museum?

RYAN MATTHEW COHN:  I think a museum is definietly in the 5 year plan.

PONYBOY:  And lastly, we are so green with envy of your mint Thunderbird. Any plans on purchasing any more classic cars?

RYAN MATTHEW COHN:  Ah, yes, the Famed 55 T-bird! I think I have my eyes set on a 1960 Jaguar xk-150. We’ll see. New York is not the best place for vintage cars.