Sophie Thunder-Murphy is an electric New York City based artist. She first grabbed our attention some years back as the wife of Daddy Long Leg’s drummer, Josh Styles.
Sophie Thunder-Murphy is an electric New York City based artist. She first grabbed our attention some years back as the wife of Daddy Long Leg’s drummer, Josh Styles.
Rock and roll music, if you like it and you feel it, you can’t help but move to it. That’s what happens to me, I can’t help it.
And what costume shall the poor girl wear
To all tomorrow’s parties
A hand-me-down dress from who knows where
Allie Concannon is one of those tall, svelte New York City downtown girls that you see strolling down the street, very nonchalantly, perhaps somewhat unaware of her beauty.
WILLY CHAVARRIA is a conceptual fashion label with a cinematic approach to design and presentation.
Bobby West is the creative force behind the men’s line BobbyDay. West is known for providing a provocative and creative way of merging fine craftsmanship, slogans that push buttons & with his “no rules should apply in fashion” mind state.
Avi Spivak is a Brooklyn based artist. You might find him working at Rebel Rouser, the record store that he co-owns with drummer Josh Styles from Daddy Long Legs and William Martin . Or you might find him djing his 45s at Clem’s bar in Williamsburg.
Every so often a mesmerizing young beauty emerges from the downtown music scene of New York City and catches our eye. A few years back we stumbled upon a band that was managed by the legendary Andy Animal, dubbed Animal Show.
Willy! Willy! Willy! The past few seasons from designer Willy Chavarria have made us big fans of all things Willy. And this season was no different. The New York City designer took inspiration from immigration rights issues in the United States. Way to go!
80s designer Stephen Sprouse took his inspiration from Andy Warhol and the day-glo 1960s, infused with a New York City downtown punk aesthetic. As impressionable 20somethings in NYC, we eagerly ventured to his 3 story shop in Soho…
The Abasi Rosborough men’s collection for Fall 2018, shown during New York Fashion Week. Casting by John Tan. Photography Alexander Thompson. http://abasirosborough.com/
Menswear designer Willy Chavarria is making bold statements with his dark and masculine collections. Unfortunately, we missed last season’s show at the infamous New York City leather bar, The Eagle – a very strong showing that had people talking. This season’s show dubbed “Believers” was no less powerful.
“Dianne Brill is a fashion designer who makes nobodies feel like somebodies with the big hellos she gives to everybody. She was the first young girl in decades to really play up a big body with big curves and big cleavage. In mid-eighty-six, she operated full tilt all night all over New York as the ultimate Party Girl and earned herself the title “Queen of the Night”. From Andy Warhol’s PARTY BOOK. 1988.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: To the Future Through the Past is a photographic odyssey mapping the role of New York City and its Queen Of The Night Dianne Brill in the cultural revolution of the 1980s and 1990s. The innovative show highlighting the era’s creative explosion of art, fashion and club life comes to Zurich, Switzerland January 12-16, 2018 at PHOTO 18, Halle 622 Therese Giehse Strasse10 – 8050 Zurich, Switzerland. Doors open 11:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Hundreds of spectacular images of Dianne Brill, celebrated as a prominent figure in the movement, with roles as diverse as celebrity model, author, fashion designer, cosmetic queen and currently YouTube’s Fairy Godbabe. Hundreds of published and never before seen, private photographs convey the excitement of the unique era known as the Art/Club years in the world’s most exciting city.
The exhibit is a time capsule of New York in the period that spawned a cultural revolution in the arts that spread to Europe and worldwide, forming the roots of many of today’s culture norms and global views on art, style and self- promotion through the use of modern media. Dianne Brill exemplifies this revolution as the Pop icon and head cheerleader for The FAB 500, an authentic conglomerate of A- list, creative young artists, writers, and club stars who turned New York night life into a beacon of originality. Andy Warhol said of Dianne, “If you were at a party and Dianne Brill was there, you knew you were at the right party!” Also at the party, backstage and on set, were famed photographers Robert Mapplethorpe, Annie Leibovitz, Steven Klein, Mario Testino, Patrick McMullan, Michel Comte, Bill King, Greg Gorman and others. Their photographs spark the show with images of the famous artists, writers, rock stars, actors and fashion and club friends in Dianne’s glamorous circle. Dianne Brill’s contributions to the scene went far beyond parties and celebrity modeling. She was featured on countless ￼￼￼magazine covers, appeared in several films and music videos, and designed clothes for rock stars and TV leading men of the era. She authored a best selling self-help book. She served as muse for artists Andy Warhol and Keith Haring and for such fashion heavyweights as Thierry Mugler, Jean Paul Gaultier and Vivienne Westwood. Mannequin manufacturer Adel Rootstein translated her famed hourglass figure (named the Shape Of The Decade) into store- window commercial mannequin in stores worldwide. Testament to Dianne’s, and the movement’s, enduring popularity, these curvaceous mannequins can be spotted today in boutiques in Europe and the United States. The Shape of the Decade is still shaping fashion and attitudes. Her role also as an original touchstone of the art, club and media worlds of the formative years of the Cultural Revolution is undeniable. The photographic journaling of Dianne Brill’s contributions brings the past into focus as precursor to the future in this remarkable show! Sponsoring the exhibition is respected art patron Gabrielle Baer of Zurich.
Tickets Available at www.photo-schweiz.ch or directly at the Photo18 Zurich event. Press Contact: Ilona Mclean Ilona.firstname.lastname@example.org Mclean Communications, Schulstrasse 21 -8266 Graefeling Munich +491728121351 +498912711484
PONYBOY: Dianne, we’ve been longtime big fans! We want to hear all about your photo exhibit. But to begin, please tell us about your upbringing. Where were you born and raised?
DIANNE BRILL: Thank you for asking me to do this. I love PONYBOY! I was born in Wisconsin and moved to Florida. For a while I was in London and now I live in New York City, but am always on the move.
PONYBOY: How did you end up in New York City?
DIANNE BRILL: I had visa problems in London and by some twist of fate I wound up in NYC. I lived in 10 different sublets until I finally landed my own place. It was tiny and cozy with a loft bed and covered wall to wall in shiny pink PVC. I had the best time making it my own little love pad. When I moved downtown in Manhattan I felt finally understood. There were people like me who understood things as I did, who dressed in my direction, listened to music that I did and more, loved the same books and films, and were just as thrilled as I was to finally find my ‘tribe’.
PONYBOY: Tell us about the early days for you in New York. What was it like when you first started going out to nightclubs, before the fame?
DIANNE BRILL: I was trading in vintage clothes, shoes and new wave buttons from London that everyone wore on their new wave inspired biker jackets. I would buy up basements of new/old clothing in stores in Florida visiting my mom and bring it to the city and sell it to Japanese and Swedish buyers of vintage clothes who exported it. Also I sold to Patricia Field, Trash and Vaudeville and stores in Soho (which was still cool) and individually owned small stores. I just walked in with samples and boom; it was what people like me wanted to wear, and you could not find it in stores. There was no Zara or H&M, or even many hot designer owned stores. I had cash to spend and NY was cheap then. An apartment was only $300 a month. So we had time to be creative and to express ourselves and to try new things all the time without fear.
It was an environment of freedom and everyone who went out became a supportive and wildly creative community of really interesting authentic and cool people. Some became famous, but all were damn cool!
As far as going out in NY during that time, if you were cool and authentic, you were welcome. If you were not, then no. You could never buy your way into a club. Never. The doorman may take your bribe, but he or she would not let you in the door! It happened fast when I came on the scene. I looked good. I always dressed up. And I was genuinely enthusiastic about almost everyone I met. I mean artists, writers, musicians and actors. Creators everywhere.
PONYBOY: When would you say the turning point was for you as far as getting recognition at the clubs, as well as on the streets of Manhattan?
DIANNE BRILL: Well, I think once we started to define ourselves as a group, then I became the cheerleader of the group. We were the Fab 500. Rudolf Pieper of Danceteria started calling us the Fab 500 based on a guest list system. First you invite the core group, the Fab 500, then you build a party by adding different scene guest lists to that group. People say I make the person I am talking to at any particular time feel like they are the most important person in the world. The truth is they are the most important person in the world to me when I am speaking to them. I like people and enjoy listening to stories or just hanging out. I like nature, but not at all the way that I like people.
But I’d say it was when taxi drivers started yelling out my name from their taxis, or when I was outside going somewhere. And later photographers were at the airport to photograph me. I thought, “Wow! This is really happening!” I guess I was relatable and approachable at the same time. I always included and mixed up different people together that were from so many kinds of places and backgrounds, but somehow fit. I have an eye for that. Being Queen of the Night I took my position seriously. It takes a lot of self-discipline to go out every single night (except Saturday and Sunday), and have a day job as well. I don’t drink or do drugs and never did after I left Tampa at around 20.
I worked the press, sure, and was careful in my self promotion to be grateful and acknowledge the people who supported me. I never got paid for all those famous parties I did because I thought that as a queen I would have to kiss up to the ones who were paying me and I did not want that. Maybe I got carried away with all that, but I felt that way. Money took more of a back seat then because YOUR RENT WAS $300. So, you could take risks and indulge your personal wishes. Freedom to be true to yourself, I guess. And I loved being Queen.
PONYBOY: Tell us about your friend, Andy Warhol.
DIANNE BRILL: Andy was so fun and I enjoyed our times together. He was a bridge for me and I was a little bridge for him along with many, many others. He loved to be where something exceptional was happening. He was so cool and wanted to be whereever that seed of cool was sprouting; and that was with us! I am going to write another book because I want to tell my story, as well as other stories that were once in a lifetime experiences, and about other people. Anita Sarko always comes to mind. She was so smart, funny, ironic…and sometimes bitchy, but always fabulous. Keith Haring and I had an excellent friendship. I truly loved him. And he, like Stephen Sprouse, is one of my favorite people ever, as well as Mauricio and Roger Padilha, of course!
But back to Andy, he really was a blast though, even with his blasé’ pose. You wouldn’t think so, but he was naughty and always telling me things. Like in front of Jean Michel Basquiat, he would say, “Dianne you should really be sleeping with Jean Michel. Do you think he is sexy? And Jean and I were like ahhh…….” Or Andy and I would be at a dinner and I was just talking to someone and he would just take his finger and poke me slowly on the hip or butt or my ribs, and I would say, “Stop it, Andy! What are you doing?” And he did this for about a week or so and finally I figured it out. He thought I was padded and that I was actually not an hour glass figured babe, but someone wearing a a fake body. HA! I set him straight!
Andy really was so odd and charming. He spoke as if he was always nervous about something, but he was confident and in charge. He was not asexual. He had boyfriends that adored him. And I just loved his hair and we could always find each other in a club if we got separated. Me 6’4 in hair and heels and he as well, just ANDY!
PONYBOY: You were quoted as saying you weren’t one of those “Warhol Girls”, i.e. a Warhol superstar with a lot of press, but no meaning or drive. You wisely used the press and NY nightlife as a stepping stone for business opportunities, which was very forward and modern thinking. Tell us more about this.
DIANNE BRILL: Being famous is so good for opportunity. It’s like everyone wants a piece of the pie. I liked it and I enjoy being treated well. Who doesn’t? Business wise, I have always been ambitious and driven by the identity of being a creative person who believes in something and keeps going, until in some way it happens. I do not find business boring. I like it if it’s something I believe in. Having open doors from being known is great, but you have to walk into those doors and you have to deliver what the people offering those possibilities want. I like to complete things and then take a moment to celebrate it. I make cosmetics now and every production completed makes me feel so good, like I just won something.
PONYBOY: You mentioned your cosmetics line, Dianne Brill Cosmetics, which seems like a very natural direction for a glamour girl like yourself. Is that your main focus these days?
DIANNE BRILL: Yes. My cosmetics are pretty successful in Europe online. I love creating the packaging and chemistry. I love chemistry; it’s actually like magic. You can make things happen to skin for the better by just mixing in a bit of this and a bit of that…and a bibity bobity boo! I also have a Youtube channel, the Brill Of It All and I am the FairyGodBabe who gives advice to help in so many social situations, such as how to make an Entrance, Texting Etiquette, etc. I do interviews with friends like Amanda Lepore and Joey Arias. And I’m also backstage during New York Fashion Week.
PONYBOY: Speaking of fashion…at one point you were a designer and had a menswear label named, “The New Millionaires Club”. Tell us about your stint as a menswear designer. And did you also make the clothes you wore out at night, like those fantastic rubber dresses, etc.?
DIANNE BRILL: I started re-cutting clothes for men and began making clothes for pop stars like Prince. And later with an investor I had a line of clothes called the New Millionaires club and did suits for Duran Duran, Mick Jagger and others. I designed menswear and tailored men’s jackets, coats and pants mostly for stage, videos and clubs. But I sold to stores, too, and was nominated for a Cutty Sark Menswear Fashion award, which was good at that time. I also did clothes for TV shows and movies like Miami Vice and Prince’s Purple Rain. I would have named it New Brill-ionaires Club today (a much better name). Actually with Dianne Brill Menswear I did a huge fashion show at the Palladium when it was owned by Steve Rubel and Ian Shraeger (former owners of Studio 54). My friend Keith Haring modeled in my show with a former NY State Lotto winner Curtis Sharp, who was a camp NY favorite. He was on TV all the time and even did mustard commercials. I love pop people!
I wore rubber dresses personally and was the first in Manhattan to wear rubber as fashion most of the time. I had them made up in London fetish stores along with matching boots, gloves, etc. in all kinds of colors. I wore a red rubber dress, boots and gloves as a guest on the David Letterman Show and lucky enough I was on the cover of The NY Post that day. So, Dave and I had a lot to discuss, but he just got obsessed with the rubber. It is a great fabric.
PONYBOY: During your reign in the 80s, you were married to Danceteria club owner Rudolph Pieper. Was he instrumental in planning your nightlife image?
DIANNE BRILL: Rudolf was absolutely important to my becoming Queen Of The Night because he always suggested to me to go to this place or that place. He always knew what was going on that mattered. He was creating all the most amazing clubs (and still is in Brazil) and every event had his mark on it somehow. He also compared me to Jayne Mansfield all the time, which encouraged me to dress more like her and play with the idea of her in my style. We had so much fun just walking into a party. I love to make an entrance! It is so hopeful and exciting just to walk into that room. Anything absolutely amazing always happens that way. Just walk in the door, take a pause, stop and let the others walk in and have their moment and then with some space in front of you, you walk in! Love that. Back to Rudolf, he invented the term Fab 500 based on his club’s guest list system.
PONYBOY: You met your second husband, Peter Voelkle. You packed up and moved to Europe. Was it a hard decision to make at that time, leaving NYC and the nightlife that made you famous?
DIANNE BRILL: I never left NYC. I just spend more time away than before.
PONYBOY: You wrote a book in 1992, Boobs, Boys and High Heels – Or How to Get Dressed In Just Under Six Hours.
DIANNE BRILL: Well I just love Glamour and it was so fun to do because I got to tell my story first hand and added a bit of self-help in it, too. I wrote it as if I was speaking to my best friend, Janis Savitt (we are still best friends!). Famous for being Fabulous was an unusual concept before the internet. Now it’s normal, but it’s because of the Fab 500 that this is just normal today. Like it or not, we set that up for you.
PONYBOY: What was it like when you spent time with designer/artist Stephen Sprouse?
DIANNE BRILL: I loved Stephen. I loved his face. I loved to hug him. I loved to drink coffee and just talk for hours. He was so beautiful as a man and loving. Every time I would meet him, which was often, I was just so thrilled to see him. He shot a ton of polaroids of me one night after a party at my apartment. I felt so pretty when he photographed me. He made an amazing art piece as big as a movie screen of me taking a photo of me and then putting it through an old fashioned roll fax machine and wiggling it around. Later he made these huge silk screens and created this one piece where I am holding a Brillo box, but my hand is over the O so it looks like Brill. He did a show with me, Debbie Harry, and Iggy Pop, I think, and a couple other mega-huge images with a guy who he was dating, who wore his hair, clothes and style the same as Stephen.
Once I made Stephen a complicated bone crown for his bithday and he made me homeboy hats and a silver leather coat. He was generous and mysterious. He wrote in permanent marker on the inside of his arms always, his same graffiti you have seen in his clothing, art work and on Louis Vuitton bags. I miss that boy.
PONYBOY: We love the Adel Rootsein mannequin collaboration. Is it still in production?
DIANNE BRILL: Yes! Selling better than ever. The Shape of the Decade (DB1 ,DB2, & DB3) lives on!
PONYBOY: You’ve walked the runway for incredible designers, including Jean Paul Gaultier, Thierry Mugler and Vivienne Westwood. What were those experiences like?
DIANNE BRILL: I am hopelessly devoted to Manfred Thierry Mugler and he influenced my life greatly. I walked for him for nine years and it was a complete dream. He made me look like I could only have imagined in the mind of a girl, imagining what it would be like to be a muse for a fashion designer in Paris.
I have awesome stories walking for Gaultier and Westwood. These three designers, I believe, are the best that have ever been and I almost can’t believe I had the crazy luck and good fortune to model for such legends. AND OMG THE PHOTOS!!!!!
PONYBOY: Let’s discuss your photo exhibition. Tell us how it all came about.
DIANNE BRILL: A friend, who is also the patron of the exhibition, Gabrielle Baer came to me and said, “Dianne you have to tell your story of the 80s art/club scene in NYC and Paris Catwalk backstage during the 90s. Your life is amazing and unusual and why wait for someone else to tell YOUR story?”
She is right. I am so pleased to be able to show photos from my private photos and Polaroids, as well as all the great photographers that I have worked with who have truly awesome shots. To see them all together tells a lot. Andy always encouraged me to take as many pics as possible, and this was when people did not have cameras in clubs unless they were professionals. No cellphones. I had a Minox spy camera and other small cameras and took photos because I knew this had to be documented. It is all so beyond fabulous; there had to be a moment that I could just stop and hold on to. I am so glad I did. We’ve blown some images up so big you have to step back to really take it all in. And then the Polaroids are so tiny from shoots with photographers like Mario Testino and Michel Comte, who wrote little sentences all around the rim of the shots and gave them to me. So cool.
I am so grateful to my friend who started the fire with her idea. And I know when someone walks into this show they will have to work hard to catch their breath because so much is happening.
PONYBOY: Who are some of the photographers who have contributed?
DIANNE BRILL: Photographers like Patrick McMullan just owned the insider scene in the 1980s clubs. He was everywhere always. I love his work and we are great friends. Michel Comte, Steven Klein, Pierre and Gilles, Robert Mapplethorpe, Mario Testino, Ben Buchanan, Gerard Musy, Terry O’ Neil, Bill King and even Annie Leibovitz, Kevin Davies and many others.
PONYBOY: Was it difficult for you to gather photographs from over 30 years ago?
DIANNE BRILL: Ha, ha, ha! Oh, yes! I went under beds, in boxes, found my model agency books, looked in NYC at my mom’s and in Europe. I have storage everywhere. I scratched the surface and out of a few thousand images I reduced it to 500, and 500 to 200, and from there a bit over 150 photos. I’ve cataloged a lot of photos because I want to write another book. And what I’ve found is so exciting for me. Also, photographers reached out to me on Instagram and Facebook and have said, “Hey! I have this great shot of you!” And boom, it’s in the show!
PONYBOY: Do you have any plans to take the exhibition to other cities or do a photo book?
DIANNE BRILL: Yes, absolutely! A book for sure. And I want to do my exhibition, of course, in NYC, then London and Munich. We’re already getting calls with interest in taking my exhibition to Munich and NYC, and we haven’t even opened yet!
PONYBOY: You’re now the mother of three children, a business owner and spending your time between Zurich and New York. What’s life like for you now?
DIANNE BRILL: My family is everything. And family, when it is healthy, is a feeling that is priceless. My Mom is very important to me. She is my touchstone and has taught me a lot about love, which is very valuable as a mom myself and a wife. Before this exhibition, I would think I didn’t want to look back too deeply because I thought I want to be in the NOW. I’m a fresh person with a lot to say and a lot to learn. I’m in the now, but through the past I am going to the future. And I want to include my amazing history in my life now. It’s not one or the other life in the past or life in the now. It’s BOTH To the Future Through The Past! That’s why the name of the show is powerful to me: To the Future Through the Past. I mean it.
PONYBOY: It all seems like such a colorful, fantastic story. You’ve written one book already. Your memoirs really should be next. It would make such an incredible movie!
DIANNE BRILL: Oh! Yes, Yes, Yes! It would make an incredible movie. It is an unbelievable story and it is all true. I am working on a book.
All images courtesy of Dianne Brill. Thank you to Mauricio and Roger Padilha.
The Adam Selman Spring/Summer 2018 womenswear collection shown during New York Fashion Week. Stylist Mel Ottenberg. Makeup Dick Page. Hair James Pecis. Photography Alexander Thompson. http://adamselman.com/
For 20 years, brothers RogerPadilha and Maurcio Padilha have carved a niche into the cutthroat world of fashion PR with their New York based fashion public relations firm, MAO PR. Showcasing new, emerging talent, they have very successfully helped launch the careers of various fashion labels, most notably Jason Wu and The Blonds. Upon entering their 14th Street offices in New York City’s trendy meatpacking district, the ambiance is more reflective of say, Andy Warhol’s factory, rather than that of a stuffy fashion PR firm. Framed photos of their idols adorn the walls, from designer Stephen Sprouse to 80s party girl Dianne Brill. Separately, the brothers have published three prestigious fashion books with Rizzoli Publications. We caught up with the “MAOS” to reflect on the nutty, high paced world of fashion. http://www.maopr.com/
PONYBOY: MAO PR just turned 20 years old. Congratulations! Tell us how that feels.
MAURICIO PADILHA: Thank you! I wish I was 20, too! It actually feels great. When we started MAOPR we were not sure what we were doing. We learned so much along the way. The best part is that we get to go to our office and work on so many different creative projects every day, and it never gets boring.
ROGER PADILHA: It’s actually mind-blowing because when you’re busy and you love what you do, time just flies. It does not feel like 20 years, at all!
PONYBOY: What brought you into fashion PR in the first place?
MAURICIO PADILHA: I was interning at Perry Ellis when Marc Jacobs was the head designer. One day Marc told me that he thought I would be better in the PR department. (I wasn’t sure if he was just trying to get rid of me from the design room, or if he saw something that made him think I would be good at PR). It was the best thing ever for me. Eventually I learned everything about doing PR and show production, casting and advertising, as Perry Ellis had all of those departments in-house. It was like a crazy fashion crash course!
ROGER PADILHA: After Parsons, I opened up my own design company called Spooky and Mauricio started working as my PR. When that company closed, he got offers from lots of designers to represent them and he decided to open a multi-brand PR showroom, instead of working for just one in-house. I became the head designer of evening at Betsey Johnson, but after a few months decided it was not for me. Mauricio was swamped. So he asked me, since I was unemployed and had so much free time, to find him an office, which I did. Then he asked me to decorate it, which I did. Then he asked if I would help during fashion week, which I did. And 20 years later, I’m still here!
PONYBOY: What services do you offer to your clients?
MAURICIO PADILHA: We have a press showroom in the Meatpacking district in New York City, where we have each designer that we represent set up on two or three racks and we conduct appointments to show each collection to editors, stylists and celebrities. During NYFW we fully produce fashion shows and presentations. We offer the services of press, production and casting for designer shows.
PONYBOY: When you first started in the business, the fashion world was at a different place. From your perspective, can you tell us how it has changed?
ROGER PADILHA: Well, when we started it was pre-internet age, so everything that could change has! But the one constant is that talent wins out in the end, and it’s just the mode of communication that has changed, such as its blogs and websites, instead of magazines and newspaper ads.
MAURICIO PADILHA: Well, we didn’t have influencers, which now drives me crazy. Just because they have a million followers and they are wearing a piece from your collection does not mean that their followers are going to buy your collection. Also, this makes it hard for building a press strategy for a designer and to get them to focus on the right audience who will be their right target customer. It’s all about LIKES, and sometimes LIKES add up to nothing because there is a new photo to LIKE within the next 5 minutes.
PONYBOY: You are known to build emerging, young designers. Tell us whose careers you’ve helped to mold.
MAURICIO PADILHA: We started the careers of many young designers, some who went on to be big names and some who were super talented and, unfortunately, had to close their businesses. We worked with these designers in the early years of their careers: Jason Wu, Peter Som, Fausto Puglisi, Sally LaPointe, Gary Graham, Kimora Lee Simmons, Rochambeau, The Blonds, Esteban Cortazar, Georgine, Michael Costello, James Coviello, Keenan Duffty, and Zaldy to name a few.
PONYBOY: What designers do you see as the next wave in fashion?
MAURICIO PADILHA: Fashion is in a weird place right now. There are designers that come and go so fast, but in the end the ones who are truly talented and stick to their guns will show themselves as the next wave in fashion.
ROGER PADILHA: I love, love, love some of the more underground hidden talents in Bushwick, like Patrick Church and Bcalla. They are breaking rules because they don’t seem to be aware of the rules in the first place. And I love that type of energy!
PONYBOY: Tell us about your fashion week process. What does it involve exactly for a client?
MAURICIO PADILHA: For September shows we start working right after the fourth of July, scheduling with the fashion calendar, looking at venues, working with lighting and staging technicians, and getting all the prep work done. By the time that show comes around, the bulk of our work has already been done. Once the guests arrive, my nerves calm down and then it’s just about having all the puzzle pieces fall into place.
PONYBOY: What are your thoughts in regards to New York Fashion Week in general?
ROGER PADILHA: I’m feeling that it’s not really getting designers the bang for their buck. But no matter what, I’m old school. I will ALWAYS prefer to see clothing walking live on a beautiful model in a show atmosphere.
PONYBOY: Besides NYFW, you also produce fashion/nightclub related events. How is it different than producing a fashion show?
ROGER PADILHA: It’s not. It’s about getting the right people at the right place to have a great time and be inspired. It’s all the same to me.
PONYBOY: Part of the mystique of MAO PR is the fact that you have published 3 fantastic fashion books with the prestigious Rizzoli publications. Does that help with your fashion PR company?
MAURICIO PADILHA: Our books are separate from what we do in the PR company. Since our books all have to do with fashion legends, sometimes the paths cross. But instead of calling an editor like Candy Pratts Price to come look at our new designer, we are calling her to have her tell us about her experiences with Stephen Sprouse or Chris von Wangenheim or Antonio Lopez. We have gotten to interview so many people that as young design students we worshipped, such as Polly Mellen, Jerry Hall, Jessica Lange, Naomi Campbell, Brana Wolf, Grace Jones, Stephen Jones, Mr Kenneth, Bert Stern, Jane Forth, Debbie Harry, Teri Toye and Anna Sui.
PONYBOY: You obviously are both obsessed by the world of Andy Warhol, Stephen Sprouse and the 1960s-80s, by glancing at the walls in your showroom, your social media, and the books you have published. What is it about these things that you are so fascinated by? And do you feel that the aesthetic of these things trickles into your company?
ROGER PADILHA: I’m not sure. Maybe it is the time we grew up in (the 80s), but I do feel that the work of Warhol and the others who followed in his path was a true sea change from the rest of history. And so much of what Andy proposed has actually come true in recent years. He was a prophet. Aesthetically, we love silver and graphic lines and all that still looks most modern to us.
PONYBOY: What is in store for the future of MAO PR?
MAURICIO PADILHA: I hope we have another 20 years ahead of us. And I hope we continue to work with new creative talent, and that we get to work with more established companies that perhaps are now being led by new talents. Lately, more and more companies call us because of the parties/special events that we have produced, and they want us to work with them on their big anniversaries, openings, launches, etc. And I must say, I love throwing a party!
ROGER PADILHA: Hopefully, we will continue to evolve and try to show the world there’s more to this industry than the giant, obnoxious companies with huge inflated budgets that can place advertisements everywhere. Once you tune out the noise, you can start noticing those quiet artists who are really making things that will push our industry forward.
All that Glitters. This would be 16 year old model, Izzy Pawline, a fresh faced beauty from the Wilhelmina Modeling Agency in New York City. Izzy, a New Jersey girl, who happens to be a high school senior, will walk the runways during NY Fashion Week SS 2018 for the first time. Our hair stylist, Sacha Harford, styled Izzy’s tresses into a gorgeous mane reminiscent of 70s model Jerry Hall, which was perfect for the Cheng sequined disco dresses that she featured. The look was topped off with a strong eye and luscious red lips. Photography Alexander Thompson. Stylist/editor Xina Giatas. Makeup Ames Amore. Hair Sacha Harford.
Musician Brian Hill’s debut album ‘And The Noh Starrs’ was recently released via Modern Sky USA. Brian was photographed in New York City on July 31st, 2017. Photography Alexander Thompson. Men’s grooming Ahbi Nishman. https://www.modernskyusa.com/
Young and hip, Private Policy showed their Spring/Summer 2018 collection called Trinkets during Men’s New York Fashion Week. The design duo, consisting of creative founders Haroran Li and Siying Qu, both graduates of the Parsons School of Design, once again gave us rebellious youth with their vision. Albeit a small collection, Private Policy gives all their guts and glory! This season’s inspiration seemed to be a mix of both cowboy and bondage, or perhaps western punk? Key elements included satin bombers with matching chaps and bondage trousers. The black & white checkerboard look thrown into the mix was a festive element, as well as the Native American jacquard jacket and shorts ensemble, worn by male model of the moment, Jacopo Olmo. And all looks were worn with cowboy boots. But perhaps our favorite look was the incredible trench coat that appeared to be made from plastic deli bags with the classic “Thank You” text. These super fab looks were topped off with fun wigs by Oribe wizard, Kien Hoang, which helped to lend that rebellious “Sprouse” punk feel. Private Policy is one to follow. Photography Alexander Thompson http://www.privatepolicyny.com/
Menswear stylist Antonio Abrego went back to his roots for this Ponyboy editorial and we just loved the outcome! From Antonio, “My inspiration for this shoot was people and musicians from my teenage years in California. This included people from New York and England, and rock ‘n’ roll musicians from the 50s, primarily Little Richard, Gene Vincent, Richie Valens, Chicano punk rockers from the 70s, and bands like The Cramps, The Zeros and The Clash. This also includes Pachucos and other outsiders from the 40s and 50s. I remember seeing older punk rockers wearing vintage clothes from the 40s and 50s with a more contemporary punk rock attitude.” Photography Alexander Thompson. Stylist Antonio Abrego. Men’s grooming Matthew Green. Model Mateo Birkner courtesy of New York Model Management.
We first met the Blonds years back, when they sold their denim line to edgy downtown retailer Patricia Field. They certainly progressed and show their fabulous collections on the runway season after season, their shows always attended by the most famous glitterati of the New York City downtown scene. But beyond that, what truly amazes us is the intricacy of each piece of clothing that we luckily get to see backstage before it hits the runway, something that not many people have the pleasure of experiencing. They truly are works of art! Photography Alexander Thompson http://theblonds.nyc/
PONYBOY: Please tell us about the “Mummy” inspiration for your Fall 2017 collection.
THE BLONDS: For Fall 2017 we were inspired by an upcoming film, The Mummy, starring Sofia Boutella and Tom Cruise. It was all about the power of transformation and finding yourself.
PONYBOY: We saw a lot of extraordinary elements on your runway, including feathers, pearls, crystals and amazing corsetry. Sexy over-the-top! Tell us more about the different elements in this collection.
PHILLIPE BLOND: There were so many elements in this collection. We experimented with some Preciosa cushion cut crystals. They are beautifully faceted and add a lot of sparkle to the collection! We also used a lot of signature elements of ours, like crystal metal mesh and burn-out lace.
DAVID BLOND: We mixed many contrasting elements this season. For example, the distressed denim, ostrich feather and pearl detailed denim jacket! Essentially, we took an athletic silhouette and expanded it to create a 1920s inspired cocoon coat bomber.
PONYBOY: The work involved in each of your pieces must be overwhelming. From this collection, please tell us which look was the most labor intensive and how long it took to create the garment.
DAVID BLOND: Phillipe’s finale look, definitely! It took nearly four months to make and we used over one hundred thousand Preciosa pearls and crystals!
PONYBOY: Many of the looks we see on your runway are well suited for entertainers onstage for musical or other performances. However, there are looks that seem more versatile and appropriate for the red carpet. Those looks included some stunning sequined gowns, as well as a metallic Grecian style gown. Is this a direction that you feel you will explore more so in the future?
PHILLIPE BLOND: Absolutely! This season was all about showcasing looks in pairs. Our signature pieces for performance and special occasion were juxtaposed with pieces that utilized the same materials and embroidery treatments, but made in a more wearable way.
PONYBOY: Have you thought of doing a more modified or simplified line, something more accessible to the average shopper, yet still with the flair you are known for? And have you been approached by any companies to collaborate on this level?
THE BLONDS: Yes! We have been approached several times to do this and once we find the right partner, we are very open to creating something for a wider audience. In the past we have created capsule collections with Moda Operandi, VFiles and Patricia Field; and we look forward to doing more of the same in the future.
PONYBOY: The Blonds are well known for sending their models each season in matching blond wigs down the runway. Surprisingly, this season brought a ‘no wig” look created by the talented Kien Hoang from Oribe. Tell us about this change and the concept behind it.
DAVID BLOND: The Blonds are all about inclusivity and due to the political climate this season, we chose to touch on this subject within the themes and inspiration for the collection. We feel like it’s important to express unity in creative ways.
PONYBOY: You consistently work with world famous make-up artist Kabuki in collaboration with MAC cosmetics. What is that collaboration like? Tell us about this relationship.
THE BLONDS: We’ve been collaborating with Kabuki for 10 years and he is a genius! He always surprises us with exciting ideas and is extremely detail oriented. Kabuki and the MAC Pro Team are a perfect partnership for The Blonds!
PONYBOY: You’ve been in business for over 10 years. Amazing! What can we expect from The Blonds in future collections and for this next decade?
THE BLONDS: There’s so much more to come, so stay tuned!
Design duo Haoran Li and Siying Qu’s Private Policy label is at the forefront of edgy downtown New York City fashion. We watched closely when they launched the label in 2015, and for their Fall/Winter 2017 menswear presentation, our love affair was quickly rekindled. With punk overtones and lots of layers, nothing was boring here. Each piece seemed very well thought out in regards to construction and styled to perfection. Track suits and bombers appeared to be layered with sections that could snap open or snap off, creating very interesting looks. Some track pants had that tear-away element and could convert into shorts. Pants were worn high-waisted, cropped and wide. Coats were boxy and hard edged. Interesting touches included long metal chains adorned on baseball caps and jackets, as well as bondage strap and belt details. The showstopper was surely the patchwork motorcycle jacket with matching trousers constructed from flags. And we also were enamored with the yellow jumpsuit worn with a plastic headpiece, giving us flashbacks of Devo! It’s young talent like this duo that keep us hopeful in a world of homogenized fashion. Photography Alexander Thompson http://www.privatepolicyny.com/
For our latest women’s editorial, Ponyboy took an early sixties turn, featuring classic, elegant womenswear that was perhaps very well-suited for and inspired by a famous first lady. Not wanting to be too stuffy, we added a bit of rock-n-roll styling with a beehive that was more befitting of say, Ronnie Spector, and the obligatory dark cat eye. Great vintage pieces were lent from New York City vintage collectors, including Aly Rose Vintage, Shirley & Alice and Black Bear Vintage. Our model pick was beauty Lexi McGee, a hot newcomer with New York Model Management. Photographer Alexander Thompson. Stylist/fashion editor Xina Giatas. Makeup Flynn Pyykkonen. Hair Juli Akaneya.