Laurence Chandler and Joshua Cooper, the creative design duo behind New York City menswear label Rochambeau.
Laurence Chandler and Joshua Cooper, the creative design duo behind New York City menswear label Rochambeau.
New York City beauty! Flourshop founder Amirah Kassem for Ponyboy.
New York City makeup artist & photographer Kristin Gallegos for Ponyboy.
We first stumbled upon Justin Dean Thomas on Instagram when hashtagging The Clash. What we found was a photo of a New York City DJ with great style and looks. After googling his name, we then discovered a very talented young musician who fronts a terrific band named The Bowery Riots. The offshoot of this band is Justin’s solo project which we found to be extremely powerful with rock ‘n’ roll songs and haunting ballads. We hung out with Justin off and on over the past year, snapping photos of him at home and on some of his solo gigs, as well as with the Bowery Riots. Justin has a very cool demeanor, reminiscent of a Tom Waits or Chet Baker. When asked about his own personal clothing style, Justin gets a bit shy. But we, as well as many others, are very drawn to his 50’s/80’s Clash style. We think you’ll agree!
PONYBOY: Where were you raised?
JUSTIN DEAN THOMAS: I was raised in Boston, as well as up and down the East Coast. I guess I’m an East Coast mutt.
PONYBOY: What was your upbringing like?
JUSTIN DEAN THOMAS: We moved around a lot. My father was a drummer and my mother a model. My old man did every kind of job in Boston. He worked in garages, taught sky diving, painted houses, and drove cabs. That’s basically how my pop met my mom. He was a cab driver and got her fair three times. And she finally agreed to go out with him. They did all kinds of work, like selling antiques and comics. You name it. We came from a very working class and artistic family, and we were all encouraged to pursue whatever we wanted. So I dropped out of school when I was thirteen years old and hit the road. And that was my schooling. I hitchhiked everywhere, and worked doing everything from construction jobs, landscaping, masonry and restaurant help to some “not so legal” work. Then I ended up in New York City busking in the subways.
PONYBOY: At what age did you start getting into music?
JUSTIN DEAN THOMAS: I started getting into music from when I was a very young child. I never remember not knowing what I wanted to do, or not feeling connected to music as a way of life. My parents’ friend, Nassir, bought me a little Willie Nelson guitar when I was about five years old. That was a very big moment on my timeline. And my mom was somewhat of a musicologist. She never sang or played any instruments, but would talk anything ranging from albums, producers, tours, as well as all of the little nuances about the world of music that made it romantic to me. She saw that I had a desire to write and a thirst for the history of music and the culture that surrounded it. And she always bought me good music books and got me into great albums.
I’m not too much into contemporary music, and have never quite related to a lot of things that are out there right now. I’ve always felt that there was a musical renaissance that occured in the last seventy years, and we haven’t even scratched the surface of music that has been proliferated in that stretch. Seventy percent of all vinyl and recorded music has not been converted to digital formats. That’s a lot of music that no one has ever listened to. That’s not to say nothing good is coming out right now, or that I’m one of those guys that says he only likes old shit. But, a lot of music right now doesn’t make the hair on the back of my neck stand up. And that’s all I have to say about that.
PONYBOY: What type of music are you most passionate about?
JUSTIN DEAN THOMAS: I like Nigerian rock like Amanar, zydeco, jazz, garage, folk, country music, Jamaican soul, blue beat, Northern Soul, psych, and rock ‘n’ roll.
PONYBOY: Who are your favorite musical artists?
JUSTIN DEAN THOMAS: I don’t really have favorites. I have been listening to a lot of Numero Group compilations. I just love that label. I do really like Blind Willie McTell, The Louvin Brothers, George Jones, Emmylou Harris, Bo Diddley, Jonathan Richman, Roy Buchanan, MC5, The Clash, Bob Dylan, Tom Waits, Dale Hawkins, Hasil Adkins, Dion, Chet Baker, The Everly Brothers, Buddy Holly, Big Star, Wilson Pickett, Sam Cooke, Irma Thomas, Del Shannon, The Beach Boys, Merle Haggard, Townes Van Zandt, Waylon Jennings, and Roger Miller. I could keep going.
PONYBOY: How did The Bowery Riots form?
JUSTIN DEAN THOMAS: I was hanging outside of La Esquina with my guitar case and a guy walked up to me and said “You got a guitar in there?” I said, “No, it’s a case full of hammers.” That was TJ Rosenthal. He started laughing and I immediately loved his ability to laugh at himself. He was earnest and excited about music in general. And we got into talking about The Kinks and punk rock and music in general, like a bunch of kids reading comics in a tent with a flashlight. We really hit it off and shared a lot of the same interests. We exchanged songs we were working on. And shortly after that first meeting, we just hung out all the time. That’s pretty much what most of being in a band is all about – working well together and being able to hang out and be around the other person. We hung around the neighborhood, going from bench to bench talking about music, history and the neighborhood. That’s where we came up with the idea of our band, the Bowery.
Tracing our lineage back to Ellis Island and TJ’s great great grandfather, who was a bank robber that knocked off a few joints in the area, we took our name from an 18th century gang called “The Bowery Boys” and the Astor Riot of 1849. It’s an amalgam of those two things. It wasn’t long ago that John Gotti ran his social club on Elizabeth street and The Bowery was home to some of the grittiest life in New York City. We aren’t doing anything that resembles that, but we’re making our own imprint of our era, as well as knowing the history of our neighborhood and family lineage. We’re extremely cognizant of what came before us. This neighborhood has seen so many changes and all walks of life–everything from William Burroughs and Jean Michel Basquiat to The Beastie Boys and Madonna – living in the same building a couple blocks down. Martin Scorcese grew up here, and mobster Joe Gallo was shot at Umbertos Clam House. There are now a lot of boutiques, as well as other yuppie shit springing up, that I can’t really relate to. But TJ and I have pockets in this neighborhood that nobody knows about, and we still know the ghosts of eras past that walk around here.
We had a mutual friend in common with Warren Stubbs, who eventually became our drummer. It’s hard to find people that fit your energy and work style, but Warren is one of the best musicians and consummate professionals that I’ve ever met. We share the same music background and style. He also adds his English wit and flare to our otherwise overt Americana. I rarely ever have to tell him anything when we are working on tunes. He just knows. The three of us work really well together. That’s a really hard dynamic to come by in any field.
PONYBOY: Tell us about your solo project as a musician.
JUSTN DEAN THOMAS: The solo stuff started about two years ago. I’ve always been a singer/songwriter with a guitar that played in that style, but I pushed it off to the side when we started The Bowery Riots. The solo stuff allows me to get back to that, and basically strip the music down. It’s really just a bit more personal. I’ve always been a poet and a writer, and enjoyed just grabbing a guitar and making it about the lyrics and melody.
I started making demos on my Tascam cassette recorder, then converting the music and posting it on SoundCloud with no fanfare or real promotion. Basically, I was just making songs that I would come up with (mostly in one take) and then posting them right after. A few people responded to it, and shortly after Pete Ferraro from East Village Radio took stock, and asked me to play one of my shitty demos on air. He was a big proponent of the solo work and also arranged some really great shows for me to play off the bat. It made me take this bedroom project more seriously and fast track it to having a backing band, thus making it an actual thing. Dave Ross jumped on to play guitar, while Brandon Collins joined in to play drums. I was again lucky enough to have such excellent musicians and really great guys play with me. Dave is a guitar virtuoso and Brandon just has such a tasteful and soulful way of playing that I couldn’t ask for better guys for the job. They know their shit, and it’s fun to hit the road with both of them. Recently someone dug my single “Standing In The Door” and asked to put it in a James Franco film, “The Color Of Time.”
Also, I recently met Jim Jarmusch. He, too, is a staple of this neighborhood. And I’d always see him walking on the streets. One day we bumped into each other and we started talking music. He asked about what I play and I told him I was making stuff on a Tascam cassette player. He freaked out and said he records on a 414 as well. We exchanged information and he asked me to make him a tape of my EP. A few days later, I gave it to him and he loved it. That was a big moment for me as I grew up watching Down By Law and Mystery Train on repeat.
PONYBOY: You’re also a DJ. Where do you spin and what type of music?
JUSTIN DEAN THOMAS: I spin all over the city and do events here and there. My favorite shit to spin is old reggae, as well as punk rock and soul. Djing allows you to see how people react to music in a social setting. It’s an invaluable experience.
PONYBOY: What projects are in store for you with The Bowery Riots, as well as your solo act?
JUSTIN DEAN THOMAS: The Bowery Riots are releasing a new single with an EP on vinyl to follow. We are playing The Mondrian Soho Friday Feb. 13th at 9:30pm, as well as Mercury Lounge on February 18th at 10pm. And I’ll be self funding and recording my solo EP in Memphis at Ardent Studios sometime in the spring.
We first met Peter Davis as a young writer for Paper Magazine in New York City many years ago. We fondly remember Peter telling us he had already done about ten interviews for various publications that day. Since then, Peter has gone on to make his mark in the cutthroat world of magazine publishing. He became the editor-in-chief of New York society magazine Avenue, then left to start his own fashion and art magazine called Scene. After Scene, Peter had a short stint as an editor at digital media company Guest of A Guest, and has now landed at fashion industry publication The Daily Front Row. But what we admire more than anything about Peter Davis is his very approachable and down to earth demeanor, as well as his passion for culture from all walks of life. That’s quite a unique trait from a man raised in New York City’s high society. Portraits and interiors by Alexander Thompson. Additional photos courtesy of Peter Davis.
PONYBOY: Peter, please tell us about your upbringing in New York City.
PETER DAVIS: I was born at New York Hospital right around midnight on December 12th. The nurse wrote down Dec. 13th but my mother’s friend thought that was bad luck, so it was switched to the 12th after a few phone calls to some important doctors. I always loved the number 13, even before I heard that story. I grew up on the Upper East Side, but when I was 12 I would take my skateboard and get on the 6 train and head downtown whenever I could.
PONYBOY: Tell us about your family’s history.
PETER DAVIS: My great grandfather, Dwight F. Davis (my real name is Dwight F. Davis IV) was Secretary of War and Ambassador to the Philippines. He was also a great tennis player and started The Davis Cup. He was even on the cover of Time magazine. My mother’s father, Henry Mucci, was a Colonel in World War II. He was a true war hero and a bunch of books have been written about him because he freed over 513 prisoners of war from the Cabantuan prison camp. The whole thing was called the Bataan Death March and they made a movie out of it starring James Franco. Benjamin Bratt played my grandfather. I met Benjamin on a shoot right after he made the movie and he acted like I was a celebrity.
PONYBOY: Your mother was a magazine editor. Is this why you got into publishing?
PETER DAVIS: My mother, Senga Mortimer, was the Gardening Editor of House & Garden under many editors including Anna Wintour. She was also the Design Director at Elle Décor. She really knows her stuff. But that didn’t get me into magazines. I interned at Paper when I was a teenager. I needed an internship for school and I was a fan of Paper and they also printed something about being pro-pot so that cinched the deal for me. My mother and I have never actually crossed paths in our career. When I wrote for Vogue when I was 24, Anna Wintour had no idea that I was related to Senga Mortimer because we have different last names. But I am a big fan of my mother and all the shoots she produces. She has impeccable taste in everything.
PONYBOY: Tell us a bit about your different looks that have evolved over the years.
PETER DAVIS: The only real cultish look I had was when I was a teenager, and I was hardcore punk. I had blue hair – a mowhawk shaped in spikes. You name it. I hung out at CBGB’s on Sundays and went to hardcore shows. I grew up wearing a coat and tie to school since first grade, so I definitely stood out with Manic Panic hair and combat boots on the Upper East Side. I still love that look. It’s very cartoon. In boarding school everyone was a mash up of preppy and hippie and I liked that, too. It was all related to smoking pot, which I also did plenty of in the woods of Connecticut.
PONYBOY: Who are your favorite designers? And more importantly, what designers do you personally wear?
PETER DAVIS: My favorite designer to wear is Timothy Everest, my superstar tailor in London. But bespoke clothes are the price of a car, so it’s not like I have my boxers custom made for me (even though that sounds like a good idea). I am very loyal to certain brands. I only wear Thom Browne button downs because they age so well, and Charvet ties. I like John Lobb shoes and for sneakers I like Nike, Vans and a new brand called Greats, which are designed down the street from me in Williamsburg. I like Michael Bastian for jackets and Levi’s for jeans. And I have a massive collection of Supreme. I have major connections at Supreme, so I get the good stuff always and never wait in line. Fashion-y wise, I love Martin Margiela and Helmut Lang (when he designed the line). I still wear Margiela and Lang stuff I have from 1999. The only jewelry I wear is my blacked-out Rolex and my engagement ring by Philip Crangi.
PONYBOY: You are an avid collector of the arts. What art do you primarily like collecting? Who are your favorite artists?
PETER DAVIS: I am obsessed with collecting art. I love photography. I own Larry Clark, William Klein, Bruce Gilden, Cindy Sherman, and Danny Lyon. I like photojournalists with a twisted, macabre eye. The same with art, I have a bunch of spooky Edward Gorey drawings and prints and a big, hot pink Andy Warhol electric chair. I also have started to amass some young street artists like Neckface. If I could afford anything, I’d score some Max Beckmann paintings.
PONYBOY: A few years ago you left Manhattan and made a brave move to live in Brooklyn. Tell us what that’s been like for you.
PETER DAVIS: I have lived my whole life in Manhattan. Most of my adult life was in Tribeca, but I was ready to literally leave the city. I couldn’t bear the site of another Duane Reade. Everything that made me feel at home was being closed down. The final straw came when Gino, a red sauce Italian restaurant I grew up going to, became a Sprinkles. Could anything worse happen? So I moved to Williamsburg without even knowing much about Brooklyn and for the past two years I have never been happier. It reminds me of what downtown was like when I was a teenager. I love my neighborhood more and more every day.
PONYBOY: We’ve had the pleasure of meeting your handsome fiance, designer Logan Samuelson. How did the two of you meet?
PETER DAVIS: Logan and I met at a party in Bridgehampton years ago. I am so lucky to be engaged to him. He is younger, better looking, smarter and much more grounded than I am. What more could I ask for?
PONYBOY: Your sister Minnie Mortimer, who is a fashion designer and wife of writer/director Stephen Gaghan, resides on the West Coast. Are you able to still stay close to her?
PETER DAVIS: Minnie is my best friend. We text and speak constantly. I’ve had about 4 different places in L.A. over the years, so we’ve shared a Cali thing for a long time together. I’m going out west soon to see her. She is so funny and so smart and has the best style.
PONYBOY: We see photos of you uptown, downtown, and even in Bushwick. Peter, please tell us what your favorite way to spend an evening is.
PETER DAVIS: The honest truth is that Logan and I go to sushi (Bozu in Williamsburg) and see every new movie that comes out. The manager of the movie theater actually knows us to the point that when a popular movie was sold out one Friday, he slipped us in as he saves seats for friends and family. I had never felt more VIP. When I do go out I like Indochine. My friend Hanuk Hanuk and I have hosted a few dinner parties there over the past few months and I adore the owner Jean-Marc Harmoud. For a cocktail, there is no spot more beautiful than the Boom Boom Room.
PONBOY: Lastly, fill us in on your exit from editor-in-chief of Scene magazine, up to your current position at The Daily Front Row. And is there anything else you are working on that we should look out for?
PETER DAVIS: Doing my own magazine, SCENE, was a great experience. But it was just myself and two other people. And I had no budget. I just got so burnt out. I couldn’t face another situation where I had to send an Uber X for Iman to get to the cover shoot, but try and trick her into thinking it was a car service. The one thing I learned is how to make something look like I spent a lot of money when I barely spent a penny. Brandusa Niro, who founded The Daily, and I were always in touch and wanting to work together. This is the perfect home for me. I am currently busy on The Daily Hollywood, which will be published in early January. It’s going to be major. Wait until you see the cover! And naturally my sister Minnie is our West Coast Correspondent.
We first met a young David Dalrymple in the nightclub scene in the late 80’s, standing taller than the rest of us with his then unfamous sidekick RuPaul, go-go dancing his way around town at all the New York City hotspots. Since then, David has gone on to design for Patricia Field’s collection named House of Field and celebrities such as Sarah Jessica Parker on Sex and The City, as well as Bette Midler, Britney Spears and Beyonce. Never one to conform, David always seems to have a new trick up his sleeve, what with all his fabulous super sexy creations. Studio photography by Aaron Cobbett. Backstage photography Alexander Thompson. Additonal photos courtesy of David Dalrymple.
PONYBOY: David please tell Ponyboy readers about your background.
DAVID DALRYMPLE: I was born and raised in north western New Jersey, just a one hour drive from New York City. My family’s home is located in a very rural area. It’s a very beautiful place and surprisingly remote for being so close to Manhattan. Now when I visit home, I appreciate it so much. But when I was a kid, it felt like torture. It was the 70’s and everything I would read or hear about that was exciting or interesting to me was happening in New York. So I paved my way out there.
PONYBOY: Did you go to school for fashion design?
DAVID DALRYMPLE: In the 80’s, I studied fashion design at the Fashion Institute of Technology. But, it was in the glittery nighclubs of New York that I was truly educated. I studied style, expression, originality, and mainly how to stand out in a crowd of people who stand out.
PONYBOY: Were New York City nightclub legends like RuPaul and Larry Tee your partners in crime?
DAVID DALRYMPLE: Yes, I met RuPaul, Lahoma Van Zandt, DJ Larry Tee, The Lady Bunny and Linda Simpson out at night in the clubs. Long story short, I treasure the memories I have from those years of working and going to clubs. These people are family to me, perhaps what a family tries to be but often can’t because of whatever reasons. A safe place for me to be me was provided, with no conditions. I was able to express myself. I had people in my life I could share my feelings with for the very first time. This was a gift and I had support.
So, I continued to make clothes and I go-go danced all over town on stages, bars, the tops of boxes, speakers, and in cages. It was very liberating! And it was a celebration of the body and sex in a club scene that was shaken by AIDS. I didn’t experience the clubs in the 70’s, but nightlife was incredible in the 80’s and 90’s. Sexual energy was channeled in other directions. RuPaul and I would always come home from the clubs in the very wee hours and religiously watch CNN’s “Style with Elsa Klensh” at 6:30am. It was everything to us, as it was a different era. There was no style.com and no streaming fashion shows. Fashion was in no way democratic. Immediately following the intro, she would say “I’m Elsa Klensch reporting from the worlds of fashion, beauty and decorating.” It definitely had a “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous” air about it. And it was inspiration for a vogueing ball, if there ever was! Well, we could just not get enough!
PONYBOY: So, it’s safe to say that you get inspiration from your early nightclub years?
DAVID DALRYMPLE: Yes, of course! I remember that some time later RuPaul produced my first fashion show at a club called the Red Zone. He came home and told me it was booked for the following Thursday, and that he, Lahoma and I would model the entire “collection.” And, we would also be making a few hundred dollars, which we would split three ways. I, of course, responded that I was not ready, that it was not possible. RuPaul’s response was, “You better get ready!” He called it the “Hot Black Hooker” fashion show. These were my formative years. It’s a part of me that I’ll always tap into during my creative process.
PONYBOY: How did you end up designing for Patricia Field‘s House of Field?
DAVID DALRYMPLE: I became acquainted with Patricia Field through our mutual friend, downtown artist JoJo Americo. I had been working with Paul Alexander, selling my clothes on consignment at the outrageous Patricia Field boutique in Greenwich Village for about a year before I met her. We became friendly out at night. And she also became more familiar with my clothes as she saw them on our mutual friends who were entertaining or attending the clubs. She scheduled a studio visit to see more. Patricia had been recruited to add her image and do the buying for a boutique in Harajuku, Tokyo named “Sexy Pop by Patricia Field.” This was my first official order. It was twenty pieces and I was very excited. I delivered the pieces and continued selling my designs in her New York store.
Some months later, Patricia approached me to discuss her existing collection. The previous designer had passed away and the company was drifting along without direction. It was in 1994 that I was offered the position of designer for “House of Field.” I accepted the challenge with vigor and by the next season I was planning to show in Bryant Park. The underground brand made it’s way to the surface. The collection became a favorite of many top stylists including, Kurt & Bart and Lysa Cooper. The clothes began to reach highly visible people. This brought opportunities and growth I had never imagined, including the opportunity to design red carpet pieces, build custom stage wear and style music videos.
PONYBOY: Do you still collaborate with Patricia?
DAVID DALRYMPLE: I worked on so many amazing projects with Patricia over the years. We literally traveled around the world numerous times. We have done TV and print advertising for many big brands, as well as custom stage wear and costumes for theater, music and film. At the same time we were also able to design and develop our own clothing brand. It’s been validating, inspiring and rewarding, and occasionally tiring and draining. But, overall it has been an incredible, uplifting experience with no two days ever the same. We’ve slowed down a bit in the last few years. However, in early October, we’ll travel to San Francisco for an event and present a fashion show. I’m very much looking forward to it.
PONYBOY: At some point we remember that you designed costumes for a European opera.
DAVID DALRYMPLE: Yes! In 2004, I was commissioned by the Federal Stages of Vienna to design costumes for the musical version of Barbarella, with original score by Dave Stewart of The Eurythmics. I traveled monthly to Vienna for 8 months designing and collaborating with Vienna’s famous costume workshops on over 450 costumes. Three weeks prior to opening night, I lived in Vienna working through tech and dress rehearsals until we had perfected the show. This entire experience was nothing short of magic. It was thrilling to work alongside an amazing leading team, finding ways to tell the story, and entertain and make something beautiful. I am so grateful to have had the experience to work on a production of this scale.
PONYBOY: That sounds amazing. You’ve designed for so many superstars, including Beyonce, Miley Cyrus and Britney Spears, to name a few. Who has been your favorite celebrity to design for so far?
DAVID DALRYMPLE: A surprisingly rewarding, challenging and prestigious client is not primarily one of my fashion clients, but a sports team. I have been designing the Nets dancers for many years. They have now moved to Brooklyn and become the Brooklynettes. And the bar has been raised! I enjoy working with the dancers very much. These girls are true athletes, so the gear must be built to last, as well as look good. It’s a great challenge every season.
PONYBOY: Of all the celebrities out there, who would you say is your dream client that you have not yet designed for?
DAVID DALRYMPLE: I don’t like to play favorites, but I am enjoying my latest client. In the last year or so, I have had the opportunity to collaborate with Bette Midler on costumes for several events. Sometimes I have to pinch myself and ask if it’s a dream. But beyond wardrobe, I learned that Bette does so much service for New York City arts, environment and the city’s schools and parks. Often I have felt helpless and frustrated to hear that art and music programs are being discontinued or that schools and parks have fallen into disrepair. One might say “But how can I change things?” Meeting Bette has been so inspirational. Taking an interest in the community and it’s condition and keeping that awareness close to you throughout the day is asking “How can I be of service?” There is always a way to contribute. Last October I designed her costume for “Hulaween” which is the annual fund raising Halloween event that she created that benefits the New York Parks Department. It was a New Orleans themed party. Over the past ten years, as a result of her hard work, over 800,000 trees have been planted. That one fact alone is staggering.
Recently, I designed the wardrobe for Bette’s new album and shot the TV commercial for the release. It was a labor of love. She has recorded songs from classic 60’s girl groups like The Ronettes, Exciters, and The Supremes. I love what she brings to a song, such emotion and care. Look for it this fall!
PONYBOY: What will David Dalrymple be remembered for?
DAVID DALRYMPLE: Interesting, I have never thought of what I’ll be remembered for. I’ll just keep it simple. He made people feel SEXY!
Talented New York artist and collector Scott Ewalt is enamored with the seedy and campy side of life, something that we at Ponyboy thrive on as well. Ewalt is a longtime dj, spinning at many of New York City’s trendiest clubs, events and fashion shows. His exhibit, dubbed Back in The Night, which originally ran over a year ago at Participant Gallery in New York, will make it’s debut on the West Coast. This extraordinary exhibit took over 20 years in the making and was well worth the wait. The inspiration is drawn from the old male revues and topless bars of New York City’s Times Square. Back in The Night at Hinge Modern in Culver City, California opens May 31st and runs through July 6th. An exhibit not to be missed!
PONYBOY: Scott, please tell us where you were raised and when you moved to New York City?
SCOTT EWALT: I was raised in Santa Cruz and San Diego. I moved to New York to go to college and to swim. Luckily, my best friends from home, Perfidia, Miss Lauren, Miss Guy, Todd Tomorrow, photographer Ron Bachman and a handfull of others moved here shortly after. So, we were a gang and all supported each other and collaborated, and still do.
PONYBOY: We remember meeting you at a Maxi Records party in the early 90’s. You told us you went to Princeton and were friends with Brooke Shields. Ha!
SCOTT EWALT: I’m almost sure we met earlier. I did go to Princeton with Brooke. We were friendly, but she knew my friends better. She was beautiful and super nice.
PONYBOY: Did you study art in school? When did you decide to become an artist?
SCOTT EWALT: I’ve been making images my whole life. I had done ads and logos for companies when I was was still in middle school and even earlier. I studied painting and architecture in school, which is why my work often includes buildings within a dreamy environment. It was an uphill battle, but after graduate school I really hung my shingle and took it seriously.
PONYBOY: You were around in the Patricia Field scene in the 90’s as well. How did you meet Pat?
SCOTT EWALT: I met Pat when Perfidia, Guy and Lauren started working at Pat’s store on East 8th Street in the Village.
PONYBOY: Pat has always been a supporter of young artists. Did she buy your work?
SCOTT EWALT: I did a funny window for Pat’s with Perfidia honoring Yma Sumac’s concert series when she came to new york. Yma came to the store and was very touched. Yma was on David Letterman and we were so proud of her. That’s when Pat and I started being friends. I started collecting Times Square signage and burlesque ephemera in the 80’s. And I bought the two marquee signs from the Venus. Pat is part Greek, so I sold her the second sign. She loved it so much she named her second store Venus. And I did the promotional artwork for the store. We’ve collaborated many times and she is always complimentary of what I make.
PONYBOY: People constantly bitch about how New York has lost it’s edge, and artists are being driven out of Manhattan, etc. What are your thoughts on the current state of the city, culturally?
SCOTT EWALT: Everyone moves to New York wanting it to be the ideal of what they grew up with. New York is always in flux, so I don’t think anyone gets what they came for. But it also encourages people to change it themselves. New York is great when you’re young and that will always be true. It is true that a large number of artists have been pushed off the island by rents, but I still feel it’s just as inspiring as it ever was and as vibrant as you make it.
PONYBOY: We also remember that you’re friends with 60’s model/icon Peggy Mofitt, the muse of the late fashion designer Rudi Gernreich. How did you meet? Are you still in touch with her?
SCOTT EWALT: I met Peggy and Bill Claxton at a gallery opening for Steven Arnold. She liked the way I looked and said ‘Rudi would have loved you’. I told her I was a true fan of her and Rudi, and I was also a big fan of Bill’s LP covers for Chet Baker and other west coast jazz artists. I think they liked that I adored both of them equally. I had her come and lecture at UCLA and show the then rarely seen Basic Black film, which is seminal. We remained friends until I moved back here.
PONYBOY: You also have a close friendship with pop artist Kenny Scharf. How long have you known him for?
SCOTT EWALT: We met from Joey Arias, and were immediatley like brothers. He is the nicest guy in the universe and has been a solid and constant catalyst. We are doing our last Cosmic Cavern a Go-Go party on May 3rd. It’s a dayglow psychedelic love fest, not to be missed.
PONYBOY: Tell us about your art. What really inspires you? What makes you get up in the morning and work till the wee hours.
SCOTT EWALT: I’m very inspired by the history of punk from 19th century diablerie artists and goth night clubs, victorian male burlesk, the surrealists of Paris in the 20s, Berlin’s wild boys in the 30’s, burlesque/vaudeville/variety/road show culture in the 40’s, the great bondage illustrators, the Ed Wood gang, Screaming Jay Hawkins and Little Richard from the 50’s, the vox drenched punk bands like The Music Machine, The Sonics and garage bands from the 60’s, the glam culture of Lou Reed, Iggy Pop, and The New York Dolls. along with airbrush art and photorealism from the 70’s – and especially the way bands like The Cramps, Plasmatics, Soft Cell and The Misfits reintroduced it all for my generation. I like some high art but I’m equally inspired by forgotten psychotronic filmakers and artists. I’ve been lucky enough to meet many artists here that live it, and that inspires me the most.
PONYBOY: How would you describe your art? And who would you say your typical client is?
SCOTT EWALT: I guess the underlying element is inversion, which is not what the high art world likes right now. They reward for making the beautiful ugly and vague abstraction. I lived through some dark times culturally here, so my art makes the unsavory celebratory, and is never vague. For me, the real punk is to do something very difficult and complicated and to make my ideas clear. My typical collector likes my work for the endurance and discipline.
PONYBOY: You recently had an amazing solo exhibition here in New York with great reviews. And now you’ll be moving this exhibition to Los Angeles?
SCOTT EWALT: Thanks. I’m very excited about going back to California. I love the culture. I have some amazing friends there and have a good feeling about it. I’m being shown at Hinge Modern, which is the perfect place for me.
PONYBOY: And finally, tell us about your fascination with Russ Meyer, your old sign collection, and your extensive tee shirt collection.
SCOTT EWALT: Well, I love punk culture. I love Roger Corman, Russ Meyer and Ted V. Mikel’s films. They were the punks of Hollywood. I also love strippers and burlesque, both female and male. I especially like Russ Meyer because he united burlesque and filmaking from the beginning. I also like real people cast as they are. He and Fellini were both doing this long before Warhol. So his films are the best eye candy and I love all his women. Meyer’s paramour/muse, Kitten Natividad, is a close friend. And I have also had friendships with Tura Satana, Haji, Raven de la Croix, and Cynthia Meyers. I love burlesque signage for many reasons. They were basically discarded until very recently, which made them easy to collect. I love the way they elude to sex and subversion in a playful way, aren’t vague, and are made with great skill. I love that Times Square sexuality and its culture was microcosm. I started collecting t-shirts for a few reasons. Out of shyness, I liked how they spoke for me and they are the only thing that fit my lanky torso. But most of all, I love that they are Warhols for your body and only get better with age and wear. I have about 1000 original strip club and punk shirts. For my show I recreated 10 shirts from adult businesses that probably had them, but I’ve never found. This is a unifying theme with all my work.
Amber Doyle, the beautiful, petite, and red-headed tailor of elegant menswear, we consider to be the leader of the bespoke New York pack. Dressed in her own custom-made Doyle+Mueser suits or the chicest designer vintage, she and partner Jake Mueser have two amazing shops to boast of and all at such a young age! Ponyboy has long been a fan of their shops, Against Nature and Doyle+Mueser. And in our eyes, they create the best downtown custom-made suits for men.
PONYBOY: Amber, please tell us your background.
AMBER DOYLE: I was born and raised in the northwest suburbs of Chicago in a small town called Lake Zurich. In terms of my heritage, I have Polish roots from my mother and my father is Irish/Native American. Growing up my mother was an artist/graphic designer and my father was an airplane mechanic/pilot. These days my mom dances tango–so fabulous! I credit my mother a lot for my character and personality. I am definitely my mother’s daughter. She raised me to be adventurous, creative and ambitious.
I moved to New York at 19 years old and attended the Fashion Institute of Technology. Although I studied womanswear at college, my personal interest and natural creative inclination was always towards men’s clothing, ranging from tuxedos and tailcoats to motorcycle jackets. Even when putting together my own ensembles on a day to day basis, my inspiration tends to be drawn from male icons like David Bowie or James Dean.
PONYBOY: How did you get into designing clothing?
AMBER DOYLE: My mother taught me how to sew when I was very young, just like her mother taught her. Although none of my family members sewed on a professional level, it was a skill that many of them possessed and which was carried down to me. I took the hobby to another level as a child and really taught myself how to design and construct a piece of clothing. I found such joy in my creations that I would constantly make pieces for myself, my mother and my friends. I was very particular about the shapes I wanted to achieve and how I thought things should fit, but I was doing this to my own beat and rules. It probably wasn’t until I was given a few vintage military pieces and a black tailcoat that I really understood what “tailored” garments were. These were so elegantly cut and crafted, it lead to my obsession with suits.
Designing has always been my outlet, from sewing garments to working on a bead loom or oil painting. Throughout my childhood I was always creating something. I mostly like designing clothing because it was more than something to just observe and appreciate from a distance. A garment I design is a creative expression and artistic spirit that you can actually inhabit and take with you as you go about your day. It is the art you live your life in.
PONYBOY: When did you first meet your design/business partner Jake Mueser?
AMBER DOYLE: I met my business partner and close friend Jake Mueser right before I graduated from F.I.T. We were both in the rock-n-roll scene that was happening downtown. We shared the same ambition and enthusiasm for suits, and the same passion for music and style.
Jake and I began working together soon after we struck up a friendship. Initially, we mostly were just making suits and accessories for ourselves and friends. We also had a small jewelry line that helped fund our main interest which was suiting. Our business started to grow so we formed our company Doyle+Mueser Ltd. a year later in 2008.
PONYBOY: Your first atelier Against Nature on the Lower East Side of Manhattan opened to rave reviews. Tell us a bit about that experience.
AMBER DOYLE: Jake and I had been working designing the clothing and accessories, and things were really picking up. We began working with jewelry designer Ryan Matthew Cohn, and opened a Pop Up store in the East Village. We were the front room for the speakeasy style bar the Elsa Room. This was in January of 2009. We had that space there for a few months. The Pop Up Shop got us excited about our opening our own retail space.
The three of us then teamed up with denim maker Simon Jacobs. From there we started building out the space on 159 Chrystie Street. We all shared the same passion for beautiful hand-made goods, but we all brought something different to the table. I remember we opened the doors at 159 Chrystie street in 2009, just days after my 23rd birthday. None of us really knew what to expect. We were just excited to get our work out there.
Right after we opened we started getting a lot of press attention. We were even featured on the front page of the style section in the New York Times on Thanksgiving–not bad for just opening a few months before.
PONYBOY: Shortly after, you opened your other shop, Doyle+Mueser?
AMBER DOYLE: Yes, about a year later. Against Nature had been going very well and getting a lot of attention. Jake and I decided to open up a separate store with a focus only on suiting. It might have been a bit impulsive for us to open a second store after only having Against Nature for a year, but the opportunity was there, so we just went with it.
PONYBOY: Tell us who the typical Doyle+Mueser client is.
AMBER DOYLE: That’s sort of a tricky question to answer because our focus is custom suiting, so in a sense, our goal is to honor the personal style and vision of each individual customer while upholding our own sense of craftmanship. There is really such a wide range of people who make up our clientele. I think the common thread would have to be that our clients tend to have a greater appreciation for detail, a strong sense of personal style, and a passion for clothing with a quality that is impossible to find in mass produced designs.
PONYBOY: What is the average price of a bespoke suit?
AMBER DOYLE: Our bespoke suits are hand-made in New York City in our studio in the West Village. The bespoke starts at $3,250 and can range depending on the fabric and style. Over the years we’ve done countless suits, sport coats, overcoats and tuxedos. We’ve done a few equestrian jackets, a shooting vest and a good number of women’s suiting, as well. We also just completed tailcoats for the Met Ball this year. They were gorgeously handsome.
PONYBOY: Where do you personally get your inspiration from?
AMBER DOYLE: I pull a lot of inspiration from different time periods and different music scenes. Probably the biggest influence to me in terms of decades are the mid-50’s to the mid-70’s, which I would consider the heyday of rock-n-roll style. The teddy boys, the mods, glam rock, disco and punk all influenced menswear in that period; and people were doing entirely new things with suits. Mods brought back a really sharp and clean look, and my favorite fabric, a wool/mohair blend, was the most popular suiting fabric for a while. Two of my personal tailoring heroes, Edward Sexton and Tommy Nutter, were making suits for people like the Rolling Stones and David Bowie that looked wild, with wide lapels, flare bottom trousers, rich colors and patterns–everything I love! I also have love and respect for Victorian Style and Art Nouveau, especially decor. I pull a lot of inspiration from film, as well, such as The Warriors, The Wizard of Oz, and Lawrence of Arabia.
PONYBOY: A few seasons back you showed during fashion week with Tara Subkoff from Imitation of Christ fame. Was that a successful endeavor for Doyle+Mueser?
AMBER DOYLE: It was a wonderful experience to work with Tara and to show at New York Fashion Week. Jake and I have never done anything before on such a grand scale.
What was different and exciting about this collection was that we did women’s suiting for the collection, as opposed to men’s. We brought these beautiful, classically tailored pieces to the runway which were perfectly juxtaposed with the delicately feminine silk looks designed by Tara. As well as being thrilled by the collaboration artistically, Tara was so much fun to work with. She has such a great vision and really knows how to create this feeling of another world through her runway shows. What I love about what she does with her shows and presentations is that they feel more akin to performance art, which I find to be really transportive.
PONYBOY: Do you have any plans of expanding into womenswear? We love the suits you design for yourself.
AMBER DOYLE: Of, course! It’s something I always think about and will do one day. We currently offer bespoke womenswear in both of our stores.
Alix Brown. New York City “Girl About Town.” Always photographed at the best downtown parties and events, you will find her djing, dancing and hanging out with a flock of young, prominent and successful beauties she calls her best friends. Dressed to the nines, her classic 1960’s looks are all the more intriguing. While her thick bangs pay homage to Marianne Faithful, her looks are an amazing hybrid of a young Catherine Denueve in The Young Girls of Rochefort and the illustrious sex-pot Brigitte Bardot. She mixes the new with an incredible and impressive designer vintage collection, creating a very unique and ultra fashionable look all her own.
PONYBOY: Alix, where were you raised?
ALIX BROWN: Atlanta, Georgia.
PONYBOY: What was it like growing up in the south?
ALIX BROWN: I couldn’t have asked for a better place to grow up. There is a plethora of amazing vintage and antiques for dirt cheap, and you even have a nice big house you can put it all in. That’s how my addiction started.
PONYBOY: What brought you to New York City?
ALIX BROWN: My dad was from Manhattan. He took me to visit when I was a teenager and I fell in love with it’s grime.
PONYBOY: I think when we first met you some years back you were go-go dancing at a Jonathan Toubin party?
ALIX BROWN: More than likely… I think you also took my photo for Paper Magazine for the nightlife section.
PONYBOY: Were you always into vintage clothing? What looks did you play around with as a teenager?
ALIX BROWN: Yes, I was always into vintage. But my style was constantly changing like crazy. I started off being grunge and listening to a lot of Nirvana when I was ten. And then somehow I turned goth/industrial when I was thirteen. Then at sixteen, I got really into punk and then in my later teens/early twenties, I got more into 60’s mod. I think I always had a 70’s glam Bowie twist throughout all my phases though!
PONYBOY: How would you describe your personal style/look now? It seems to be a bit Catherine Denueve/Brigitte Bardot/Marianne Faithful all rolled up into one.
ALIX BROWN: Brigitte Bowie.
PONYBOY: What designers do you favor? Do you primarily dress exclusively in vintage clothing?
ALIX BROWN: I like mixing vintage and new designers. I love Saint Laurent, Courreges, Ossie Clark, Miu Miu, Prada, Chanel and Reformation.
PONYBOY: You’re one of the stylish, beautiful female DJ’s that plays fashionable events, along with other lovelies like Leigh Lezark and Becca Diamond. What differentiates you from these ladies? What records do you enjoy spinning?
ALIX BROWN: I play mostly 60’s and 70’s rock’n’roll, soul, french, glam, and punk. I also like to play records sometimes too, whenever I get the chance.
PONYBOY: You’re also a musician. What instrument do you play? Are you in a band?
ALIX BROWN: I’ve been playing bass since I was 16. I’ve played in many bands and traveled extensively, but in the last year I’ve been focusing on mainly styling and DJing.
PONBOY: We see photos of you out with model Alexa Chung, musician Tennessee Jane Bunny Thomas, and other New York City “It Girls.” Do you go out every night? What clubs are your favorites?
ALIX BROWN: I try to be good, but now that it’s summer there’s just so much going on. It’s hard to say no to a fun night out on the town! I love going to the Soho Grand Hotel, Paul’s Baby Grand, Black Market, Cabin, and Baby’s All Right.
PONBOY: Will you stay put in New York City? What plans do you have for yourself in the future?
ALIX BROWN: I can’t quite say what’s in store for me. I miss the south a lot, but I’ve also been flirting with the idea of living in Los Angeles. I also feel really drawn to Germany for some reason, maybe it’s my heritage. But, for now, there is no place I’d rather be than New York City!
MEOW! The Blonds A/W 2014 Collection at Milk Studios in New York City paid homage to Cat Woman and other comic book villains, with co-designer Phillipe Blond opening the show in the tightest glittery catsuit with matching whip. The looks, clearly not daywear, are best suited for spectacular performances by pop stars and show girls. So it’s no surprise that Jennifer Lopez, Beyonce and Miley Cyrus have all sported designs by The Blonds. Standout pieces included a corseted bodysuit made out of whips, a pink 50’s inspired full-skirted coat dress with kittens and spray paint, and a white gown with huge shoulder pads and a glittery oversized mouth. And we can’t forget the mirrored cat shoulder pieces! The make-up and hair were classic over-the-top “BLONDS”. MAC cosmetics genius Kabuki glued pre-cut paper eyebrows on each model for a dramatic effect, which went wisely with the severely cut blonde bangs and long bumped falls. And we also must make note of the most extreme nail art on this planet. We see The Blonds as the love child of legendary designers Bob Mackie and Thierry Mugler, which would only make for a beautiful creation. This show was all about nightclub fun, with perfectly curated music provided by DJ/Artist Scott Ewalt, adding to the over-the-top festivies. And of course the amazing Amanda Lepore was there! Photography Alexander Thompson.
Public School design duo Dao-Yi Chow and Maxwell Osborne’s runway show at New York Fashion Week was a very powerful debut. The talented pair won the Swarovski young men’s designer award from the Council of Fashion Designers of America, as well as first place at the CFDA/Vogue Fashion fund. The Public School designers threw signature silhouettes on the runway including biker jackets, overcoats and denim in monochromatic colors. They brought a young freshness to menswear by fusing tailored garments with streetwear classics. The oversized floppy hats, capes and dominant use of the color black gave a somewhat edgy/dark feeling to the collection. Some of the men’s looks were blatantly priest like. The duo also debuted their womenswear collection, albeit very unisex. Public School is definitely top of the class. Photography Alexander Thompson.
For our latest women’s editorial, Ponyboy stylist Jules Wood dressed French 18 year old beauty Charlotte Blouet, from the R Agency in New York, in vintage Yves Saint Laurent.
YVES SAINT LAURENT. Born in 1936. Head designer at Christian Dior at 21. First French couturier to have a pret-a-porter line. Known for his iconic pieces such as the Mondrian color-blocked dress, safari jacket, and women’s tuxedo suit. His premiere Rive Gauche boutique opened in 1966 and actress Catherine Deneuve was his first customer. His muses included Loulou de la Falaise, Iman and Laetitia Casta. Saint Laurent became the first fashion designer to be honored by the Metropolitan Museum of Art with a solo exhibition while still alive. He died June 1st, 2008. His legacy and design house live on.
Patrik Ervell, the maker of young modern menswear, once again successfully showed his Autumn/Winter 2014 collection at Milk Studios in New York City. His sleek, functional and collegiate designs for this season were dubbed “Formal Athleticism”. The collection seemed very fresh on the runway featuring such classic utilitarian details such as zippers, patches and pockets, as well as modern shearling jackets and slick windbreakers – all in his trademark minimal way. The shearling he used is a woven wool textile from a company in Germany that makes teddy bears. Equally unique, was the grooming for the show. The hairstyles were provided by Holli Smith from Oribe. The effect created was a look of sweaty hair, with bangs matted on the forehead. No doubt this collection should prove to be a commercial success. Photography Alexander Thompson.
Ponyboy Magazine was excited to photograph New York City downtown girl/model Stella Rose Saint Clair. Stella has the most amazing nightclub looks so she was the perfect model for our Blitz Kid/New Romantic editorial. We didn’t even need a stylist or makeup artist! Such a creative talent with her own amazing outfits and make-up, our beautiful model donned different designers for our camera including Diane Von Furstenberg, Moschino, Yves Saint Laurent and Bob Mackie.