Gotham’s Latest ‘It’ Girl is PhoebeNewYork – And She’s Trying to Help

 

 

 

From Betty Boop to Blair Waldorf, New York City has inspired an ever-evolving history of fictional “It” Girls. Although the latest fille to make the list hasn’t been defying social distancing guidelines in covert downtown speakeasies or igniting Page Six scandals; she has been—much to our delight—regularly spotted around town.

Meet PhoebeNewYork, the charming and très fashionable alter ego of NYC-based artist Libby Schoettle. Phoebe has been popping up on boarded up storefronts and bus shelters throughout New York and across the globe, and stirring up quite a buzz. More than just a street-art phenomenon, she’s amassed over thirty-two thousand Instagram followers, collaborated with brands like Victoria Beckham Beauty, lululemon, and Rag & Bone, and will be the subject of a Canobie Films docuseries next year.

 

 

Phoebe may come to life as a collage, but she’s no paper doll. She grapples with the questions we all ask (“What the fu*k” is happening?”) about sexual politics, and the stark realities of living in an increasingly unstable and divisive global society. But she does it in a way that makes us feel a little less alone in it.

Notably, Schoettle is also one of many street artists participating in the Yourban2030 Color 4 Action Campaign in support of the coronavirus emergency. Yourban is a not-for-profit group working for a more sustainable future, and a donation of $25 or more to any of the COVID-19 related charities on the site will earn donors access to over 60 street artists’ drawings to download and color.

In the midst of such a busy schedule, we caught up with Schoettle to learn what inspired her and why Phoebe is everything we need right now.


What or who inspired Phoebe, and when did you begin creating her?

Phoebe came about completely organically, as in, I had no plans to make her, she just appeared. It’s hard to identify the exact moment, because my art went through various stages that eventually brought Phoebe to life and, poof, one day she was there, a small face on a pink record album cover. I instantaneously felt connected to her, and saw her as something very important, something for years I kept repeating over and over again…this pink head with a small mouth and a large eye in profile. Over time, Phoebe’s voice became clearer and clearer as I began to add words and phrases to the collages in order to let that voice be heard.

How do your own thoughts and personality come through in her character?

She is inspired by the things I am inspired by. I pour my own feelings into each PhoebeNewYork piece, using a combination of fashion imagery, found objects, colors, and words. Each element reflects whatever I’m drawn to at that moment, often things that make me feel reminiscent. She also does the things I cannot do. Such as, I need to constantly remind myself to “never quit” and “to just keep going,” “be confident” and “believe in myself.” Through Phoebe I do keep going, she gives me a reason to wake up in the morning—and by placing her on the street, I find that other people find reflection in her the same way I do.

 

 

What makes Phoebe so relatable?

What I’ve realized is that many of us feel what she feels and appreciate the messages she offers. I think she’s braver than I am and she’s confident enough to expose her insecurities and vulnerabilities, and to express optimism at times, too.
The fact that she’s been pasted on to walls in other countries, and that people in other parts of the world say they relate to her, tells me that her words and messages can resonate with people, no matter where or who we are. It makes me very happy to be able to send out messages and connect with others about love, loneliness, woman-power, insecurity, self-image, and hope.

And she’s unexpected.

People have told me that they’ve come across PhoebeNewYork at just the right time: they’ve turned a corner and seen a message like, “Don’t panic” at the very moment they needed to. I actually know what that feels like, because she has brightened my days, and I do tend to feel better whenever I happen across a PhoebeNewYork art piece on the street.

How have recent events like COVID-19 and the Black Lives Matter protests shaped Phoebe’s worldview?

These are both such major events, and I’m still taking it all in. [As always] I am inspired and challenged to express myself in my art.

 

New Ferragamo Virtual Tour is the Trip to Florence + Rome We Can’t Take Right Now

 

 

Whilst this insidious pandemic has definitively focused our attention on a sense of responsibility to the health of our surrounding community, if we’re allowed a moment of self-indulgence, we’ll admit that one thing we’ll most definitely be missing in 2020 is that moment of touching down in our beloved Italia. And as the EU has just admonished America with a necessary and perfectly understandable travel ban, it seems nothing short of a fait accompli.

Our friends at Ferragamo must have sensed this, as they have worked seemingly tirelessly to create this fascinating and visually exquisite new virtual gateway into the world of the exalted Italian fashion house. First, a beautifully captured digital tour of their recently renovated and design-focused flagship on Rome’s Via Condotti (separated by men’s and women’s), closely replicates the actual in-person shopping experience. It’s so realistic we almost thought we could walk out the front door and over to the The Antico Caffè Greco for a morning espresso.

 

 

But perhaps even more excitingly, they have created a stunningly vivid virtual tour (narrated in both Italian and English) of the Museo Salvatore Ferragamo in Florence. It takes viewers from the Piazza di Santa Trinita at which it is located, on into the museum itself, where the current exhibition Sustainable Thinking thought-provokingly mediates on our increasingly distressing relationship with nature and our environment. One can then detour into the permanent collection, which gorgeously and edifyingly tells the rich history of the Ferragamo brand (including the shoe models of movie stars like Audrey Hepburn and Greta Garbo).

Surely nothing could completely replicate the experience of actually being in Roma or Firenze—we miss the scents in the air, the sounds of the people. But with our worlds having gotten a lot smaller these last few months, taking a digital tour with Ferragamo will surely be distinctly good for our weary souls.

 

Pride Month: RXM Creative’s ‘Virtual Pride March’ Digitally Subs For the Real Thing

 

 

This year Pride Month looked and felt different across the globe. Normally a time when generations of the LGBTQIA+ gather in streets and social venues to celebrate gay culture and history, the pandemic has otherwise spawned virtual events, enabling people around the world to join the festivities online instead. And while 2020 marks the 50th anniversary of the very first Gay Pride March in New York City, social distancing of course forced the cancellation of the March itself; so RXM Creative, the digital creative group behind Virtual Cheers, has created a Virtual Pride March, with custom avatars generated through Instagram.

The goal of the project is to enable the LGBTQ community to see themselves on a virtual street, with the possibility to choose the styling and messaging for their own avatar…and, importantly, to support The Trevor Project.

Here is how the program works: you make a charitable donation to The Trevor Project, a leading organization supporting young LGBTQ+ people with numerous life-saving resource—such as an 24-hour suicide hotline, educational workshops and more. Once the donation has been confirmed, you direct-message @virtualpridemarch on Instagram to have an avatar created of yourself. The avatar becomes part of an extended Pride March through the Instagram feeds of all supporters.

As Pride Month is winding down, Virtual Pride March is a great way of bringing the LGBTQ+ community and allies together with a fun, interactive, custom, and we must say, adorable, online experience. Join the virtual parade to be seen with the likes of Ariana Grande, Lady Gaga, Amanda Lepore, and Alok and give to a charity that needs our help more than ever during these economically uncertain times.

 

Fendi Taps the ‘Soul of the World’ for its ‘Anima Mundi’ Livestream Concert

 

 

It’s been a difficult time for fashion, with most of the word sheltering-in for the last three months, and not necessarily thinking about dressing to kill all that much. But some brands have notably and commendably turned to activism, at a time when their level of influence is surely needed.

But our empathetic friends over at Fendi have taken a more ethereal approach, having apparently been hard at work organizing what will surely turn out to be one of the more memorable digital events of this long, dispiriting (but obviously necessary) lockdown. Indeed, on Saturday, February 20, the exalted Roma fashion house will present FENDI Renaissance – Anima MundiLatin for “the soul of the world”—a summer solstice outdoor concert, in partnership with the Eternal City’s own Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia.

 

 

With star violinist Anna Tifu front and center, the Academy’s orchestra will perform Vivaldi’s fittingly soulful, hopeful The Four Seasons, with all members draped head-to-toe in Fendi—a bellissimo reminder of fashion’s long and inextricable relationship with music. The stage will be the brand’s exquisitely photo-ready headquarters at the Palazzo della Civiltà Italiana, a stunning 1937 example of rationalist architecture by Ernesto Bruno La Padula, Giovanni Guerrini and Mario Romano

“We would like this to be a moment of renaissance,” enthuses Fendi CEO Serge Brunschwig, “linked to our home, our Roman roots, and celebrating our artisans’ craftsmanship as much as the Accademia’s artists.”

And with so much strife and division in il mondo right now, a renaissance seems just what we need.

Stream FENDI Renaissance – Anima Mundi here on Saturday, June 20.

 

Virgin Hotels Employs Fashionable Mannequins to Illustrate Social Distancing Guidelines

 

 

 

Despite being an international hub, Dallas has experienced just a fraction of the coronavirus cases as has New York (about 9200 vs. 200,000)—so it’s no surprise that gyms, bars, restaurants and shops have already begun opening back up there. And, no surprise, veritably every action being taken has been swept up into the escalating socio-cultural war surrounding the crisis.

Hotels represent unique situations, of course—with guests coming from all over the world to congregate under one roof…all with possibly different ideas of what it means to be taking precautions. So rigorous measures are naturally being undertaken to ensure everyone’s safety.

But what hasn’t been talked about much, are those more ethereal aspects of our contemporary urban lives that have lain dormant these last ten weeks or so, replaced by vintage TV binging and too much bread baking. Fashion, especially, took a bow and left the stage, acknowledging that flouncing around flamboyantly and/or expensively was probably not the best look for the time. But calling upon our dormant desire for nattiness seems to be a reasonable strategy for finding our way back to some sense of normalcy. And Virgin Hotels‘ Dallas outpost is leading the stylistic charge, with a new installation titled Together Again: Reconnecting Through Fashion and Art.

 

 

 

Organized by Kristen Cole of Forty Five Ten (she a style arbiter, it an exalted local boutique), the display is spread throughout the hotel and comprises a dozen chicly adorned mannequins, done up in particularly bold, challenging—and colorful—pieces by designers like Christopher John Rogers (a CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund winner), CFDA Swarovski nominee and milliner Gigi Burris, and 2019 CFDA womenswear designer of the year nominee Rosie Assoulin. Contributions also came by way of Archive Vintage, and some well-chosen contemporary art pieces are woven into the narrative.

But the installation also has a more serious purpose. Indeed, it is meant to make guests aware of social distancing guidelines, without the usually ominous visuals that go along with such a purpose.

“With the hotel located in the Dallas Design District, we wanted to do something artistic, bold and characteristically Virgin to promote social distancing in the hotel,” says Teddy Mayer, Vice President of Design at Virgin Hotels. “Instead of removing furniture or roping off areas, we thought bringing in mannequins to supplement limited capacity requirements would be more upbeat and lively. Kristen Cole brought it far beyond my expectations.”

Cole remarks of the unprecedented assignment, “I selected joyful and bright fashion and art pieces that celebrate life and coming together.”

Seems like precisely what we need right now.

 

‘Inside CHANEL’ Explores the Designer’s Iconic Collaborations w/ Art + Film

 

 

If you’re seeking a binge-worthy alternative to sociopathic big cat collectors or soulless Ozark-based money launderers, take a peek at the House of Chanel’s Inside CHANEL collection of micro-documentaries. The series, which began in 2013, explores the world of legendary founder/designer Coco Chanel from every imaginable angle.

The newest additions to the series explore the special relationship that (real name) Gabrielle Chanel maintained with the creative world. The first episode, Chapter 27: Gabrielle Chanel and the Arts, sketches a portrait of a woman who was both an observer and a collaborator, and who played an integral part in an incredible cultural revolution. The documentary highlights her relationships with Cocteau, Dali and Picasso, amongst other artists, and how they influenced her perspective, and ultimately her work.

The second episode in the arts series, Chapter 28: Gabrielle Chanel and Cinema, illuminates her contributions to film as both a costume designer, muse, and champion of some of the era’s most notable filmmakers. From Hollywood’s golden age to the French New Wave and on to the edges of the avant-garde (and including Jean Renoir’s exalted 1939 masterpiece The Rules of the Game), Gabrielle Chanel’s imprint has stamped modern cinema icons with the indelible mark of modernity. And thusly, the Chanel aesthetic and philosophy remain forever imprinted in the credits of women’s lives, both onstage and in the streets.

Upcoming episodes will discuss contributions to the worlds of dance, literature, and music. Start binging at inside.chanel.com.

 

 

Instagram Style: @LIDOWARCHIVE is Camp, Colorful…and a Fave of Troye Sivan

Images by Jess Farran; Styling by Haile Lidow @lidowarchive

 

 

Not that we were totally surprised—but sheltering-in-place has created a new fertile ground for already imaginative content creators to take everything just that much further. To wit, Brooklyn-based clothing rental company LIDOW ARCHIVE, which was already one of our faves, with its camp, eccentric and very colorful Instagram account.

It’s a fantasyland of 4,000+ eclectic pieces of vintage and contemporary fashions and accessories, putting new, offbeat brands right alongside treasures from the venerable houses of Moschino, Karl Lagerfeld, Dior, Lacroix, Ashish, Versace, Emilio Pucci…we could go on. It was officially launched in 2019 by stylist Haile Lidow, whose most recent credits include providing pieces for model/actress Hunter Schafer (HBO’s Euphoria) for the March cover of V magazine, and for Troye Sivan, for his just released album, Take Yourself Home.

 

 

“We arranged for his stylist to come in for an ‘experimental pull,’ Lidow explains, “with the intent to try out new silhouettes and styling combinations for Troye. We played dress up for four hours! Troye ended up loving the looks created in that session, and it resulted in a creative shoot. It was originally only supposed to be for Instagram content, but they needed imagery for a new song and ultimately chose to use those pictures. It was so exciting and I loved seeing all the fan art of him in a full LIDOW ARCHIVE look.”

@LIDOWARCHIVE shares sneak peeks and inspirations via IG stories, while static posts, often set in or around the studio that fills an entire floor of Lidow’s home, are filled with imaginative narratives showcasing new and, of course, archive items (maybe something by Lillie Rubin or Marc Jacobs, Balenciaga or Jean Paul Gaultier, YSL or Thierry Mugler). It ends up being quite a lot of fun following the chronicle of pieces finding their new home at LIDOW, and then seeing those pieces at work, immortalized in assorted magazine spreads.

“When I started interning at Vogue I began interacting with clothing from major fashion houses and niche contemporary designers for the first time,” she recalls. “That’s when I found my love for mixing vintage with contemporary pieces, which has shaped my personal style, my prerogative as a stylist, and the overall aesthetic of my collection at LIDOW ARCHIVE—the three of which are inextricably intertwined.”

 

 

The aesthetic is characterized by lots of pink, and given a dose of humor with the clever use of various emojis.

“It’s an immersive window into our world,” she insists, “it’s about selling the fantasyland. Our main priority with the LIDOW ARCHIVE Instagram is to have fun, so we try to make content that is lighthearted and cheeky—our tagline is ‘Check Out My Rack!’ after all. But is also gives a glimpse into our business, which is ultimately about renting clothes.”

Filled with whimsy, @LIDOWARCHIVE is the feed we all could use right about now: a reminder of the brightness and individuality that we all possess, and can look forward to acting on once we’re able to return to our regularly scheduled programming. Until then, we can’t think of a better way to pass the quarantine time.

 

 

Here’s the ‘Queer Eye’ Season 5 Trailer – With a Stunning New Track by VINCINT

 

 

 

While the original Queer Eye For The Straight Guy was beloved for its sense of over the top fun and camp, when the series returned in 2018, truncated to Queer Eye, it was a decidedly more heady, though no less fabulous affair.

Season 5 will premiere on Netflix June 5, and the boys are headed to our beloved city (of Brotherly Love), Philadelphia. The first trailer is here, and amidst all the fashion faux pas jokes (“You know those metal bins that you can put clothes in and burn them? Do you have one of those?”) and exuberant clowning around, it lets on that the show will be dealing with such serious matters as single parenthood, self-acceptance, and the mother of them all—reconciling religion and gayness.

 

 

We’re also loving the new single “Be Me” by American singer Vincint, which is featured in the trailer. For those who missed it, he was a finalist on the first season of The Four, also in 2018…and was born and raised in Philly, well-known for turning out glorious music talent.

With its lush, ’80s-sounding synths, and exhilarating aura, it’s a genuinely chill-inducing track. More importantly, VINCINT gives an impassioned vocal performance, with his stirring proclamation of, “That’s all I need / A reminder that I could be free” sending more than a few shivers up the spine.

“It was an honor to write ‘Be Me’ for Queer Eye Season 5,” he enthuses. “I hope it inspires you to be yourself and love yourself.”

The song arrives on the heels of VINCINT’s rapturously received debut EP, The Feeling, via AWAL (Billboard called him “a legend in the making”). Expect to hear a lot more from him in 2020.

 

 

 

‘Fendi Icons’ Short Film Fêtes the Peekaboo + Baguette Bags

 

 

 

With travel, nightlife and fashion having been particularly interrupted by the pandemic, we’ve been relegated to dreaming of future jaunts to Paris, Milan and Rome. In fact, there are few things we’d rather be doing right now than window shopping along the Via Condotti in the Italian capital.

 

 

But while a less glamorous reality has found many of us passing the time by stress-baking sourdough loaves, our friends at the storied Roma fashion house Fendi have been busy filming an ode to some of their truly iconic accessories. Indeed, in this 34-second homage to the Peekaboo and Baguette handbags, curvaceous Colibri heels, and punky FF Boots, bellicose-but-beauteous, fishnet-clad models (who, apparently, haven’t nibbled even a crumb of those aforementioned baked goods) strike yoga poses, while showing off footwear and tightly gripping bags.

And, who can blame them, really? The handbags are pretty fabulous.