Continuing PRIVATE POLICY’s socio-political brand DNA, their FW20 collection aims to uncover the dark side of the American pharmaceutical indus- try.
Continuing PRIVATE POLICY’s socio-political brand DNA, their FW20 collection aims to uncover the dark side of the American pharmaceutical indus- try.
Fall 2020 utilizes raw silk yarns from India, which are transformed into handcrafted knitwear; sheer organza, nylon and pop art printed stretch fabrications.
In the late 1940s The New Look Brought back the spirit of haute couture, emphasizing aesthetic over the function of the popular fashions of wartime. Similarly, formalwear led to the rise of streetwear in the 1990s, influenced by American sport and music culture.
For NIHL’s Fall/Winter 2020 collection, a great deal of inspiration was derived from villains and characters within horror films who embody a certain queer persona.
“The essence of all beings is Earth. The essence of the Earth is Water. The essence of Water is plants. The essence of plants is the human being.” – Chandogya Upanishad
“Divided,” “torn,” “polarized,” all seem to be the words describing the tension between liberals and conservatives, rich and poor, different races.
Model Matthew Bartow from Red Model Management New York photographed in vintage and designer punk/new wave inspired clothing for Ponyboy magazine menswear editorial “Neat Neat Neat!”.
Vintage Chanel featured on Wilhelmina NY model Megan Otnes. Photography Alexander Thompson. Creative direction Maria Ayala. Stylist/Editor Xina Giatas. Hair/Makeup Ahbi Nishman.
For his AW19 collection, Robert Geller worked with his Japanese team to find ways to do what is almost impossible: Dye Wool, Nylon and cotton in one garment. The results are stunning garments with beautifully subtle color nuances and rich textures.
Style for me is about aesthetics over gender specifics. From a young age, I was drawn to a very androgynous, conceptual self-image. Prior to my transition, I had a very avant garde, post apocalyptic, Pierrot-punk-look that was extremely gender fluid. I always knew I would eventually transition.
Christian Cowan is the young handsome and oh-so-talented designer that we fell in love with last season. And this season was another love affair with his creative and colorful collection that was sent down the runway for Spring/Summer 2019.
Beechwood is a young, super-stylish rock’n’roll band that has dominated the downtown New York City scene as of late. Pretty boys, they are far from all show. This trio of musicians have both the talent and balls to kick you in the gut with their sound and musical abilities.
Christian Cowan is the young, super-talented British born designer who is opening eyes with his ultra fun clothing. The handsome boyfriend of Paper mag owner Drew Elliott, Cowan is all about F-U-N! There were so many great looks that we went gaga.
“The Original Harlem Slim” – a befitting stage name for brooding bluesman Tito Deler, New York’s modern day soulful talent. Catch Harlem Slim onstage at St. Mazie, the jazzy supper club in Brooklyn, every other Wednesday night. But you’ll just have to wait until this dapper cat comes out with his next record, since you won’t be able to find any of his first pressing. Run to see this extraordinary talent and get ready to step back in time. Photography Alexander Thompson http://www.titodelerblues.com/music/ https://www.instagram.com/harlemslim/
PONYBOY: Tito, tell us the origin of your stage name, Harlem Slim.
HARLEM SLIM: “Three monkeys sat up in a coconut tree – Discussing things as they is said to be – Said one to the others, now listen you two – there’s a certain rumor going around that can’t be true. Now if you’re from Long Island – ain’t nothing wrong with that – Matter of fact I know quite a few Long Island hep cats – But the truth is plain and simple, and it will surely set you free – There can only be one Harlem Slim – mutherfucker that’s me!” – The Original Harlem Slim
I’m born and raised UPTOWN and have a lot in common with the Blues OGs in that my culture is STREET culture and my first exposure to music was the CHURCH. I took the name from a perpetrator from Long Island that held it till I came along – believing in truth and the dissemination of truth it was my duty to right that wrong – thus Harlem Slim was born.
PONYBOY: You were born and bred in New York City. What was your upbringing like?
HARLEM SLIM: I’m a first generation native New Yorker of Dominican parents. I grew up with three older sisters. One was a disco queen that never saw the wrong side of the velvet rope and taught me the hustle. The other was a rocker that let me rock her boyfriends cut-sleeves and snuck me into her band’s shows at CB’s. The youngest of the three was an original B-Girl that showed me the ropes and exposed me to graffiti in the late 70s and skateboarding in the early 80s. When Saturday Night Fever came out my sister gave me a blowout and I hung out on my stoop all day listening to Tavares and Earth, Wind & Fire. My first record was the Ramones (76), my second record was Leave Home (77), and my third record was Fonzi’s greatest hits (76). When I heard Sucker M.C.’s on Mr. Magic’s Rap attack in ’84 I knew it was fresh. In the late 80s I pushed my skateboard up the block past all the B-Boys, dealers, pimps, pushers and junkies to my own beat because regardless of our differences, it felt like home.
PONYBOY: How did you get into music?
HARLEM SLIM: My father was the super of the building I grew up in and because we come from a culture that creates music and art perpetually, folks were always getting down in our basement, with a wide range of neighbors and family in the mix. Dressed to the nines, they would turn up with instruments and records for the HiFi. In those basement jams they mostly played music from Dominican Republic, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Mexico and the still newish Salsa from the streets of Nueva York. But late at night after the riffraff blew off steam and all that was left was the compadres and comrades that had kissed and made up my step grandfather on my mother’s side, who would play his stack of jazz and rhythm and blues records. Sleeping on a bed of coats listening to the sound clash in the other room was how I got into music.
PONYBOY: What influence did being raised in New York have on you, as well as your music?
HARLEM SLIM: “I write rhymes like I come from New York City” – Afrika Baby Bam
If you REALLY know New York then you know that this city doesn’t tolerate fakes. My mentor Miss Lelly Blue taught me long ago that anything you put out there must come from your heart. Picture a man sitting up on stage singing about things he doesn’t know and playing a roll that he’s only seen on TV or read about in books…that’s clowning around – akin to minstrelsy and a damn shame since the blues liberated us from minstrelsy. As a native New Yorker I respect my audience wherever they from and I respect my ancestors that did this before me; therefore, I find it mutually beneficial to play my blues with my feeling, write songs about life and sing about things I’ve experienced. Now I’ve never been given gasoline in the place of water, but I know what a broken heart feels like and I’ll sing to you about it.
PONYBOY: Tell us about your connection to blues music specifically.
HARLEM SLIM: Blues allows me to express myself without complication – be it singing about pain, joy of a fly pair of slacks, a broken heart or love and peace I found in Jesus Christ. The blues gives me the opportunity to tell my story. Blues is at the root of all USA music that I love…so why would I mess with anything but the raw uncut funk.
PONYBOY: We’ve seen you perform at St. Mazie’s in Brooklyn and were been blown away by your performance. So tell our readers, what does your recording process entail?
HARLEM SLIM: My favorite jazz record is Cookin’ with the Miles Davis Quintet. I found it on the second floor of my building growing up and it took me many years to really dig it. Miles made that record to capture the feeling of a live performance. The true essence of jazz or jazz improvisation. I approach my recordings the same way I do my shows. I get in the spirit all the same and play blues with a feeling.
PONYBOY: And tell us your musical influences.
HARLEM SLIM: I love the blues shouters, particularly Big Joe Turner, but Son House is my greatest influence in the sense that he did everything with a feeling. You never seen Son House “dialing it in”. Another great influence of mine is Thomas A. Dorsey – the father of Gospel music. He got his start playing Hokum blues and later made the switch and composed most of the Gospel classics we know and love, nurturing talents like Sister Mahalia Jackson along the way. I also really love Sister Rosetta Tharpe who has such a rockin’ sound and sang about her faith in the Lord. It’s so good to see folks diggin’ her these days.
PONYBOY: Are there modern day artists that you follow?
HARLEM SLIM: No doubt! Soul brother numero uno Leon Bridges AKA the future of the funk is a close friend of mine who’s music I love. JD McPherson, Jimmy Sutton and the crew are a class act. I caught them recently in NYC and they tore it up! My homeboys Daddy Long Legs always get my feet to tappin! Soul queen Nikki Hill and crew are true professionals and a treat to watch. Modern blues players that I dig…The big homie C.W. Stoneking, my man Diablo Dimes, and I can’t forget the OG Jimmy Duck Holmes and the whole Blue Front crew! One of my favorite records of recent is Hurry For The Riff Raff’s The Navigator. I hope to catch them soon.
PONYBOY: Your great personal style is part of your attraction, when watching you perform or seeing photographs of you. Do you mix vintage with new clothing? Any brands that you favor?
HARLEM SLIM: Right on! I appreciate the compliment. I always perform in a suit and most of my suits are vintage purchases from Dated Vintage NY & Cavemanteeks. My fedoras are modern creations from Wellema Hat Co. in California and my Panamas from Borsalino in Italy. My everyday go is Mister Freedom – them threads just drip with style and every drop has me like a kid in a candy store. I rock some vintage shoes, but mostly for show since they don’t hold up to my stompin’. On stage and trooping around I rock Aiden’s from New England or Churches from Old England. When my feet need to rest I slip on some PF Flyers and when it’s time to make moves I throw on some fashions from Thee Teenaged. If I mix or not, I keeps it fresh.
PONYBOY: You’ve worked in the fashion industry for several years. What are your thoughts on the trend for vintage inspired menswear? Do you think it makes it too commercial or perhaps mainstream?
HARLEM SLIM: Trend makes it a little harder to find your tribe. Back in the days it was easy to pick the hep cat out the crowd by the fold of his jeans, or the cut of his hair. Today there’s a lot of snakes in the grass – more foam than coffee – but you can’t knock the hustle, you can’t hate the game. Everybody’s got to eat at every level so access and entry price points are key. I believe there will always be a separation between the commercial and the niche market – at best one feeds off the other and at worst one is devoured by over saturated market and overproduced goods. The sad side effect in this 21st century is the reality of waste in clothing manufacturing and the effect it has on the our environment, which is why I favor those vintage inspired brands that don’t process their clothes and treat mother earth with the respect she deserves.
PONYBOY: Tell us about your day job, as a graphic designer/art director.
HARLEM SLIM: I’m the VP of a team that designs men’s, women’s and kid’s graphics for Tommy Hilfiger. It’s an honor to work with such talented people on all sides of our business and share in the great success of this iconic American brand. The first talent I discovered was visual art and I am blessed to be making a living from it. Making music is a beautiful thing and also essential to my survival, but having a career outside of music allows me to make music on my terms with no ones hands in my pocket. “God Bless the child that’s got his own” – Billie Holiday
PONYBOY: You have one release from a few years back. Do you have any new music to be released in the near future?
HARLEM SLIM: I released my first record about five years ago. Recorded it myself in my bathroom on Avenue A. I made 1,500 pieces and sold 1,500 pieces. It was a perfect expression of what I was feeling at the time. Since then I’ve been busy writing and performing new material with plans of releasing my new project on the early side of 2018, this time with the support of my friends, record label and business partners Blue Front Records. It’ll be a mix of Gospel and Blues. If you follow me on @harlemslim you’ll get a taste of what to expect.
PONYBOY: And finally, any thoughts on the resurgence of music that gets labeled “retro”?
HARLEM SLIM: “There is good and bad in everyone…” – anonymous?
Some of it I like, some it is just plain corny. But the funny thing is that sometimes a kid will get into Soul music via a watered down mainstream band playing watered down radio friendly music – then start to dig a little deeper and discover artists that are really making beautiful music that just might save you someday. BUT to be clear about the term retro, my feelings are best explained by paraphrasing L.A. music journalist Kickboy Face (RIP) and ask that in reference to PONYBOY’s question the reader put the word retro in place of new wave…
“I have excellent news for the world. There is no such thing as new wave. It does not exist. It’s a figment of a lame cunt’s imagination. There was never any such thing as new wave. It was the polite thing to say when you were trying to explain you were not into the boring old rock ‘n ‘roll but you didn’t dare to say punk because you were afraid to get kicked out of the fucking party and they wouldn’t give you coke anymore. There’s new music, there’s new underground sound, there’s noise, there’s punk. there’s power pop, there’s ska, there’s rockabilly. But new wave doesn’t mean shit.” – Kickboy Face (RIP)
Musicians Justin Angelo Morey and Ashley Anderson Morey, also known as Sunshine & The Rain, are the cool husband and wife duo playing the New York City downtown rock ‘n’ roll scene. We first saw them open for our friends, The Stompin’ Riffraffs, and knew that we had to feature them on Ponyboy! With their distorted, feedback 60s sound, these Jersey City residents turn heads with their super stylish look. Ashley, who goes by ‘Ash’, sings strong lead vocals and unknowingly demands your attention with her early 60s preppy outfits, long red hair and gorgeous features. Check them out! Debut album, In The Darkness Of My Night, releases May 12, 2017. Photography Alexander Thompson https://sunshineandtherain.bandcamp.com/ https://www.instagram.com/sunshineandtherainduo/?hl=en
PONYBOY: Sunshine & The Rain, an interesting name for the band.
ASH: That’s not a question! [Laughs] I take the band name as a balance between good and evil; the things we as humans struggle with every day. People will constantly ask us, “which one is sunshine and which one is the rain?” But both of us are both things. It’s part of what reminds us we’re alive. You can’t know happiness without pain. You can’t have sunshine without rain.
JUSTIN: [Laughs] Actually, our name is more or less a shout-out to this old garage-rock group called Richard and the Young Lions. However, it was also directly drawn from the obvious lyrical content from that Frankie Beverly and Maze song, “Joy and Pain”. I said to Ash, “We should just call ourselves Sunshine & the Rain, because it will be funny when people come to the realization that it’s just the two of us and not a singer named “Sunshine” backed by an ensemble performing under the monicker, “The Rain”.
PONYBOY: You’re a husband and wife duo from Jersey City. How did the two of you meet?
JUSTIN: I’ll never forget that moment when our eyes locked in for the first time. I instantly fell in love with Ash.
ASH: Just like that, huh? We first met at the Empty Bottle in Chicago, near where I grew up. Justin was on tour with his band at the time, The Black Hollies, and I was a lowly 17-year-old shy, creative loner. I had heard of The Black Hollies through some other band friends who had played in their circle, and I was intrigued by their obvious ‘60s garage-psych inspiration. I didn’t know of anyone else doing that stuff at the time. Fast-forward a couple years, and every band was doing it! Typical, right? Needless to say, Empty Bottle is 21+ so I begged my parents to take me into the city to go with me so I’d get let in. The rest is history, I guess!
PONYBOY: And how did the band form?
JUSTIN: Spending the Christmas and New Years’ holidays with Ash and her parents, I woke up on the morning of New Year’s Eve with a song idea in my head. After many hours of persuading, I finally managed to convince Ash to collaborate with me. Much to my surprise, it wasn’t as challenging as I had initially thought it might be. I could see our chemistry right from the very start. Ash held her own, and her contributions to this little idea turned out to be massive on many levels. I knew right then and there we were both on the same page and would be able to work very well together. Later on that evening, we recorded that song by using both of our iPhones as multi-track recorders. [Laughs]
ASH: I remember the song idea vividly. I was so surprised; I thought it sounded different than the songs Justin released with The Black Hollies. It was sweet and poppy. My first reaction was “Oh my god, this sounds just like Paul McCartney!” [Laughs] I guess maybe we should’ve actually released that one, huh?
PONYBOY: What instruments do the two of you play?
ASH: Well, in Sunshine & the Rain I play fuzz bass, but I started off by playing guitar. Somehow I got transfixed by it and started taking guitar lessons when I was 12. So I play both of those instruments – badly, mind you. [Laughs] But I’ve always had a fascination with different instruments and a drive to learn them all. My dad was a drummer and I begged him for a drum set when I was a teenager. He would give me lessons, but without other musician friends, he ended up playing the kit more frequently than I did! At the moment, I’m totally enamored by the piano. Probably because it’s something I can’t play. I had a keyboard as a kid and messed around with it, but I never spent enough time with it. That’s my next goal!
JUSTIN: I play all different types of instruments. Sometimes I really just like to get behind the drum kit and kick out fat beats. In Sunshine & the Rain, I’m the one playing guitar, adding backup vocals when required, and operating our drum machine. Occasionally I’ll put our Farfisa Mini Compact to use. On recordings, we both utilize other instruments that we feel will serve the compositions best. We love the less-is-more aesthetic; however, there are times when you feel like having a kitchen-sink production instead of a bologna and cheese sandwich. But trust me, I love a bologna and cheese sandwich as much as the next person!
PONYBOY: In The Darkness of My Night is your first full release. Tell us about the recording process.
JUSTIN: For starters, being able to work with Jon [Spencer], someone I always admired and respected, was fucking mind-blowing to me. Early on, I thought somebody was playing a trick on us and I thought somebody was gonna pull the rug out from underneath us! We had acquired all these songs leading up to the recording, and we had sessions booked for April 2016. We had planned to cut like 3, maybe 5 songs tops, and we were hoping to walk out with an EP. On the evening before the scheduled start date, we received word that the Studer tape deck wasn’t functioning properly and needed to be repaired. Unfortunately, for us, the repair was going to take awhile and we had to reschedule for the time all parties involved were available, which ended up being June 2016. As awful as it sounds, it actually turned out to be a blessing in disguise. The night we received that news, we ended up rehearsing and, for some reason, something magical occurred where we started playing our songs at different tempos and approached them all differently. I’d like to believe that was the night when we finally figured out our sound.
ASH: For lack of a better term, the recording process was rad as hell! Honestly it was the best studio experience I’ve ever had. Jon had all of these ideas and this whole vision, which was different than what I’d experienced previously. It was honestly amazing. He was so invested in making sure our songs would sound as good as they possibly could. It’s really surreal to see anyone else standing by your art that you’ve kept private for so long, and taking care of it as if it’s their own, but let alone a legend like he is! We also had the best ever engineer, Ted [Young], who was just super funny and made the whole experience feel comfortable and natural. He’s a true pro with analog tape recording. Plus, the fact that we were surrounded by Sonic Youth’s gear didn’t hurt. On some nights when we were tracking the guitars, we would drive back to the apartment and be like “oh my god, this is probably the first time Lee Renaldo’s guitars have ever been in standard tuning!!” P.S. Don’t tell Lee! [Laughs]
PONYBOY: Do you write the songs together?
ASH: It really varies. The completion of a song idea is done separately. I’m very private when I write. It’s usually something I prefer to do alone in our bedroom. As far as where a new song blossoms from, it goes back and forth. We’re lucky since both of us are songwriters, so it’s not left to one person to create the composition. A lot of times, I’ll work on songs when I’m by myself at home and I’ll demo the idea with just bass, vocals, and drum machine. When I first began writing for this project, I would demo all my songs on guitar, but after a point I’d be like, I’m gonna be playing bass to these live, why don’t I just write the song over the bass line to make sure it’s something I can sing to? However, I think our secret comes from the fact that Justin’s a great musician and amazing arranger, so he can really make the songs come to life. He’s a good drummer, which really helps in his ability to program the drum beats. I’m more of a lyricist, but he makes the songs interesting. Being a bass player, it’s easy to find the vocal rhythms within the drum parts. For example, “I’m Not Your Girl”, the first single from our album, is actually a song he started. He had the whole instrumental composition and even some lyrical ideas. Then one day by myself, I was practicing it and just blew through the whole song writing the lyrics. It didn’t end up being anything topically what it started as, but I find it interesting to witness the changes in those situations.
JUSTIN: What she said.
PONYBOY: We’re enamored with the raw, lo-fi sound. How would you describe it?
JUSTIN: We rehearse using our old Ampeg amplifiers and old fuzzboxes. We run our drum machine through an old guitar amp that’s probably not designed to handle the beats so it sounds fucked up to begin with. Ash runs her vocals through a tape echo to a guitar amplifier. More or less, we use what we have, and we’ve found a way to balance that sound where we can be noisy and dirty enough, but we’re also audible. When we rehearse, we really like the way we sound, and we move things around in the space so we’re comfortable. Well, either we like the way it sounds, or we’ve just become used to it! [Laughs] We like having a noisy, pop type sound. We feel like it’s just an extension of us and our personalities. We appreciate sugary-pop hooks, but we also like heavy, dirtier content.
ASH: Yeah, I think our sound is just a crazy amalgamation of everything we listen to.
PONYBOY: What bands/musicians would you say inspire you?
JUSTIN: I’m a sponge, always listening to different types of music and trying to soak up the little bits that strike my heart. I tend to gravitate more towards raw, obscure records and recordings. They always tend to sound way more genuine and sincere. I love old ‘60s garage-rock, ‘60s R&B, soul, early rock ‘n’ roll, punk rock, hardcore, ‘60s girl group sounds, etc. Some of my most favorites are, but not limited to, the following: The Stooges, Velvet Underground, MC5, The Kinks, Rolling Stones, Shangri-Las, The Ramones, New York Dolls, The Ronettes, Sex Pistols, The Sonics, Germs, Black Flag, Pussy Galore, Generation X, 13th Floor Elevators, The Dead Boys, Suicide, Boss Hog, the Misfits, Lou Reed…bottom line being, Ash is my constant muse!
ASH: Oh my god, so many! Like Justin said, we’re all products of our environment, so I absorb and take to heart everything I listen to. I feel like music affects me in a way it doesn’t to everyone. If a song hits me the right way, I’m really feeling it. Justin and I are both shy, introverted people. Music is something I used to communicate with others. It’s kind of safe and innocent in that way. Like, here’s this song, how does it make YOU feel when you listen to it? One of the many reasons I feel like it’s the true universal language. Justin and I share a lot of the same artists we both love, but I’m also drawn to traditional songwriters and folk music in an extreme way. It seems easy to write a basic story-song, but let me tell you, have you ever tried to duplicate “For the Sake of the Song” by Townes Van Zandt? One of the all-time best songs ever written. And don’t even get me started on Dylan. Geniuses.
PONYBOY: Who would be your dream band to open or tour with?
JUSTIN: If we could go back in time, it would be amazing to open for 13th Floor Elevators at the show Ash’s dad, Richard A., saw them at in Corpus Christi, Texas back in the day. With that being said, it might not have been a good combination because people would probably boo us off the stage! Otherwise, it might be nice to open up for the Foo Fighters because I could reconnect with old friends; but most importantly, I’d finally get to meet Pat Smear!
ASH: My constant dream is to open for other female-fronted bands who have been heroes to me in my musical exploration, like Mary Timony, or Boss Hog, to name a few.
PONYBOY: Ashley, your style is extraordinarily unique. Do you wear vintage? Are there any designers/labels that you favor?
ASH: Thanks! You know and have seen it all, so it means a lot coming from you! I do wear vintage but don’t necessarily limit myself to one particular designer. I love the classic ivy/trad styles from the early to mid-60s that inspired the mods. I’m a fan of keeping things clean and classic. That way it never goes out of style! I incorporate vintage pieces with modern pieces: Ralph Lauren, Tori Burch, Brooks Brothers, Bass Weejuns, Chanel ballet flats, and so on. A perfect easy outfit for me would be a classic Ralph Lauren oxford button-down paired with skinny jeans and my penny-loafers. But those button-downs are great, because you can also dress them up with a skirt. And who doesn’t like a classic, old school cable-knit sweater? One day, I’d love to get a custom-made pair of Stubbs & Wootton loafers, where one loafer is a sun emblem and the other is an umbrella with raindrops on top. If you’re reading this, Justin… *wink wink*. Justin and I both believe that fashion is an expression of one’s inner self. Just because you listen to punk rock doesn’t mean you have to have a dyed Mohawk. Justin used to tell me about going to all ages punk rock shows at ABC NO RIO in high school, and there were all walks of life coming together in that venue. They were just there to support the music. That’s what we’re all about.
PONYBOY: You’re a fairly new band, with a sprinkle of live performances in the New York City area. Do you plan on taking it on the road? What’s next?
ASH: We would love to continue to play live shows, but it’s most important for us to go where the interest is. We’re trying to get our name out their through other avenues first, whether it be radio or what, to generate interest and then go play. We both have day jobs, so we can’t just pack it up and go on tour. It has to be calculated. We’re hoping to play more regional shows around the release of our record, and then maybe hit L.A. with some people we’ve been talking to out there. We haven’t been to California in years and it would be an interesting change of pace. We’re also trying to get the word out a bit in the U.K., and it would be a dream to play over there!
JUSTIN: We plan to play as often as possible, provided that the interest is there. With all my past experience when it comes to touring and performing, I have zero desire to embark on any tour just for the sake of touring. I’d like for us to do it when people are psyched for us to come perform. If it don’t make dollars, it don’t make sense!
Model Christina Anderson-McDonald courtesy of D&A Model Management. Photography Alexander Thompson, stylist Maria Ayala, hair Ahbi Nishman and makeup by Lorcan Devaney.
From Maria Ayala…
Back in the late 80s, I moved from Austin, Texas to the Big Apple and was infatuated with all things relating to Andy Warhol and his fabulous factory. Meeting Andy was a dream of mine. And it follows that I was infatuated with the life of the young and beautiful heiress, Edie Sedgwick. Warhol’s best and brightest 60s superstar, Edie attended the most fantastic parties and was featured in Vogue magazine. I adored her free spirit, dark side and her fabulous style. I attempted to emulate her by wearing the shortest mini dresses, black tights and the longest earrings that I could find at the hippest stores. In truth, I probably resembled Warhol superstar International Velvet more so, with her black back-combed mane and up-dos.
No store was as hip as the downtown boutique, Patricia Field, and I shopped there weekly for day-glo makeup, the longest and thickest false eyelashes, and quirky, chandelier earrings. I became friends with the staff at the shop and soon enough found myself working at the make-up counter on weekends, while attending F.I.T. At the time, I went out as much as I could to underground clubs like The Tunnel, Red Zone, Pyramid, The World, and Limelight.
During that time, the visual manager, Jojo Americo, himself a style icon, took me down to Canal Street to Industrial Plastics. I was in heaven and bought some lucite glitter pieces that I found extremely attractive. I rushed home to play around with them. I was able to whip up a pair of shoulder duster earrings and wore them out that evening to one of Michael Alig’s Outlaw parties.
The attention that these earrings received was instantaneous and tremendous. The very next day I went back with my boyfriend in tow. We filled a big bag with plastic shapes and soon had created a new, fabulous batch of jewelry, including gargantuan earrings, oversized rings and dangling bracelets for me to wear out that evening to Susanne Bartsch’s legendary monthly party at The Copacabana. I really wanted my larger than life jewelry to look like something out of the pages of a 1960s Vogue magazine editorial by none other than the infamous fashion editor Diane Vreeland.
It was at Susanne’s party that my boss, designer Patricia Field, noticed my eclectic night time looks (though my day looks were almost as over-the-top). She approached me about having my own 60s department at her shop, packed with vintage dresses, accessories and as much jewelry as I could make to fill the cases and keep sales rolling. Now this was way before Pat’s Sex and the City fame. Pat’s store was well known for its extreme mix of fashion and the staff were equally expressive and unique individuals, functioning as the foundation for this highly creative subculture. We sold to everyone from sexy, east village girls to club kids and trannies to uptown socialites. Pat was always way ahead of her time, very adept at selecting those talented young extroverts and providing them with the artistic environment in which to flourish.
Suddenly high fashion trends were shifting. The next thing I knew, fashion photographer Steven Meisel had shot model Linda Evangelista in head to toe Pucci for the pages of American Vogue magazine. This caused quite the sensation, and the resurgence for all things 60s in fashion came about. My vintage 60s department was booming and my jewelry was flying out the door. I worked in the boutique during the day, wearing and selling my jewelry, and went out at night wearing my latest creations. My boyfriend quit his day job and helped me assemble and design the jewelry, so that I could fill the cases at Pat’s.
Stylists, fashion editors, designers, photographers and pop stars shopped in my department, and it was this exposure that brought my 60s inspired earrings, rings and bracelets to the pages of fashion magazines. I, myself, was photographed by the great Steven Meisel for Interview magazine, and other features followed as well, including MTV’s House of Style.
Naomi Campbell wore my earrings for Paper magazine, and commissioned me to make a set of jewelry for her to wear to a Seventh On Sale benefit. Other models and celebrities were customers as well, including Rupaul, Kate Pierson from the B-52’s, Deborah Harry, and Rosey De Palma, just to name a few.
However no one brought my jewelry more attention than the “dee-gorgeous” Lady Miss Kier, singer for the overnight musical sensation known as Deee-Lite. Kier with her trademark flip hairdo and Pucci catsuits lovingly showcased my jewelry in her “Groove is in the Heart” video and on the album cover.
At this point, my business expanded and the wholesale orders would not stop coming in. Beyond the lucite shapes, I delved into casting molds and designing metals. However a few years later, a Seattle based band known as Nirvana took over the music world, and grunge was born. A young designer named Marc Jacobs showed flannel shirts and no jewelry on the runway for Perry Ellis, causing a ruckus in the fashion world. He wisely ushered in this street style movement, and other fashion designers were quick to follow the trend. Oversized lucite 60s jewelry was no longer in high demand. Grunge had taken over and with it a minimalism in accessories and jewelry followed. And at the same time I was experiencing great growth within the store, having taken over the womenswear buying and management, my focus was there. It was time to call it quits for making jewelry.
This editorial features my work from the late 80s to mid-90s. Diving into my sample archives, memories and the few tear sheets that remained, I took a nostalgic trip back to my youth and shared it with ponyboymagazine.com.
Martin Keehn FW16 draws from his own first experiences arriving in New York, a blue collar kid discovering the city in an era when downtown was a esthetic junkyard, before pre-fab counter culture fashion replaced actual counter culture. What emerges is a mixture of working class meets club fantasy meets army/navy surplus.
The dichotomy of utilitarian vs luxury speaks to the aspirational theme of the collection, with single needle tailored work shirts realised in fabrics that typically evoke ivy league or the 1%. Dobby dress shirts with a hint of Lurex suggests the fantasy of the proletariat untethered. Dominating silhouettes in leather and melton overcoats give us this season’s archetypal authoritarian. Factory worn-in denim accessories are an attempt to un-fame the masses and satirise prefab culture.
Typically, Keehn is irresistibly drawn to tension and reminds us of summer in more frigid times with a palette of peachy pinks , saturated creams, dove grey punctuated with metallic and leather accents throughout for a nod to our dark side. Photography Simon Cave. http://martinkeehn.com
Ponyboy loves a blonde! We photographed our favorite East Coast rockabilly gal, the lovely Miss Katie Bickert from New York City’s Rebel Night dance parties. Katie, also known as RockDollNYC on instagram, is always dressed to the nines in beautiful mid-century vintage fashions at the fabulous events that she throws with her boyfriend DJ Sei and the rest of the Rebel Night Crew. No one can deny that Katie is the “face” of this party, with her trademark glowing smile and fabulous rockabilly jive moves on the dance floor. http://www.rebelnight.nyc Photography by Alexander Thompson.
PONYBOY: Katie! Where were you raised?
KATIE BICKERT: I was raised in New Hampshire. I grew up partially on a farm where my dad raised emus and horses. I’ve been living in New York for the past eight years.
PONYBOY: What brought you to New York City?
KATIE BICKERT: I came to New York to pursue an education and career as a hairstylist. There’s not much opportunity in creative fields or diversity where I was raised, so New York offered all of that, plus the excitement of events, music and the chance to meet and work with new people.
PONYBOY: When did you start getting into vintage clothing?
KATIE BICKERT: In my late teens I was really getting into the vintage aesthetic, but it wasn’t until I moved to New York in 2007 that I started lusting after more and more beautiful vintage dresses. And it’s evolved from there! I collect everything from fun dresses and prints (that are perfect for wearing out dancing), to older workwear, motorcycle sweaters and even little boys vintage clothing that I can fit into! Ha! Ha!
PONYBOY: How long have you been dressing in 1940’s-50’s clothing?
KATIE BICKERT: Well, when I was eighteen years old living in New Hampshire, the choices for vintage shopping were few and far between. There was an antique mall in my town that a vintage vendor had opened up. I wandered in one afternoon while she was there and she looked at me and said, “Now that’s the kind of girl who should be shopping at my store!” We became instant friends. She taught me a lot about clothing, and got me started on the addiction that I have today, which still continues to grow.
PONYBOY: Where do you find all of your fabulous clothing?
KATIE BICKERT: I find my vintage clothing at lots of places! Ebay, of course, and other online venues. I also shop at local boutiques and flea markets. I think most people would assume that it’s hard to find affordable good vintage in a city like New York; but it’s here, you just have to dig for it a bit. I’m lucky to have a great friend with a car, and we travel to places outside of the city often, including New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Long Island to hunt for treasures. Half of the fun of collecting vintage for me is finding it, as well as the memories you make along the way. We’re planning a road trip to the “World’s Longest Yard Sale.” I can’t wait!
PONYBOY: How long have you been involved in the Rebel Night party?
KATIE BICKERT: I’ve been attending Rebel Night since the moment I turned twenty-one! Ha! Ha! And I immediately fell in love with the atmosphere. I feel that the party is really something special. I was so shy to learn how to dance, but the Rebel Night host DJs literally dragged me onto the dance floor and I was totally hooked. There’s a very small community of people who dance rockabilly jive in New York City, and Rebel Night is definitely the place to go to dance! I started getting really involved with the party in 2005, when we created the Rebel Night Weekender. I had to take a much bigger role at that point, since it required constant communication with venues, bands and attendees. Our host DJs are all native Japanese speakers, so this was much easier for me to take the roll on.
PONYBOY: Your next weekender is approaching soon. Tell our readers about this event.
KATIE BICKERT: It’s this upcoming weekend, July 17th-19th in Brooklyn. We’re celebrating Rebel Night’s ten year anniversary! I think that’s quite a big accomplishment for any party to last ten years in this city. It’s taken a lot of dedication and tight friendship from all of us involved. Friday the 17th is at the Grand Victory in Williamsburg. And we have The Bothers playing, as well as Silvertooth Loos, who are flying in from Los Angeles. Then the record hops will go on until 4am.
Saturday’s and Sunday’s events are at The Shop, a newly opened BBQ place/live music venue in Bushwick. It’s called “Hula Rock” and it’s a Hawaiian themed event featuring Johnny Farina, who is famous for his 1959 hit with Santo and Johnny, “Sleepwalk.” We’ll also have two Wild Records acts performing, Will & The Hi-Rollers and Josh Hi-Fi Sorheim, as well as more local bands playing surf, garage and rockabilly. All kinds of other fun stuff is planned, including guest DJs from as far away as Germany, burlesque, a pig roast, limbo contest, photo booth, tiki drink specials, etc. It’s a labor of love, but we’re all so excited for the big day to be here this Friday!
PONYBOY: How does this event compare to the your first weekender a few years back?
KATIE BICKERT: Our weekender in 2010 was the first live show Rebel Night had ever done. I’m not sure how many people even know that! We went from doing only record hops, to a three day live music event with bands and DJs from all over the world. We probably should have worked up to it first, but it was a fantastic time. And we still have people that come up to us at other weekenders and tell us how much they enjoyed ours. This show will be different in some ways; however, as we have a lot more experience now and have used that to create events that absolutely anyone can enjoy. Not only are there live bands, DJs and dancing, but also other treats and visual things happening at the same time!
PONYBOY: What performers are you especially excited to see?
KATIE BICKERT: I’m really excited to have Will & The Hi-Rollers back at Rebel Night, as they’re really celebrating their anniversary, too, and are one of our favorites. We loved The Clams last year at Hula Rock Vol 1, as well. I know Johnny Farina will blow us away! Also, our friend Jodi Ham is debuting her band’s new line up at this show. I guess that’s the best part about doing the booking, you’re excited about every band on the line up!
PONYBOY: We bet you’ll be dancing all weekend!
KATIE BICKERT: Oh, you know it! We try to make ourselves as organized as possible before the show, so that we can relax and enjoy the music while we’re there.
Lindsay Degen, designer of New York knitwear label Degen, took this season’s inspiration from the oversized artwork created by Claes Oldenburg’s 1961 exhibition “Store.” The set for her presentation at Pier 59 Studios was composed of large colorful sculptural displays. Degen stated in the show’s notes, “This season, I found myself more frustrated than ever about the buyer system that is in place and the future of sales in the fashion world. Inspired by Oldenburg’s outlook on art & commerce, I decided to make larger-than-life sized sweater shaped art objects. I intended these pieces to read as one-of-a-kind and be recognized for their aesthetic worth and handmade beauty; not their wearability.” The handmade colorful unisex creations were characterized by rainbow patterns and consisted of cropped tank tops, sweatpants, leggings and shorts. Degen collaborated with illustrator Gretta Johnson on prints for the wearable “Print All Over Me” pieces. Each look was paired with white Converse high-tops, consisting of Degen knit accents. The beautiful, eclectic makeup was keyed by Mahasin Phillips for Inglot Cosmetics. And we must make note of the vivid waves and striped nails by artist Casey Herman using China Glaze Nail Lacquer. A refreshing part of this presentation was that Degen’s models were not from agencies, but rather friends of the designer; and they all came in different shapes and sizes. We found the entire collection very fun and playful, in character with the youth of today. Photography Alexander Thompson.
We’ve always loved the look of a young and pretty debutante, slumming downtown in eclectic New York City punk and new wave clubs. Think Edie Sedgwewick! That being said, we had our stylist Xina Giatas dress Russian model Naya Shtreys from Red Model Management in some fabulous frocks. The pieces Xina selected ranged from Rodarte and DSQUARED2 to Michael Kors and Christian Benner. For hair, we booked another Russian beauty, hairstylist Katya Zemtsova. We asked her about her hair inspiration for this editorial. “This is a take on the classic sixties updo, mixed in with a little 70’s-80’s punk. Texture is really important when it comes to a chic, messy style. So, to create this texture, I used Oribe’s Volumista Spray for a blow dry foundation. I then applied the thick texture spray all over to create the right amount of grid in the hair.” Success! We also enlisted one of our favorite makeup artists, Caitlin Wooters, to apply a marvelous face to our fantastic beauty. Here are the results!