alexa BlackBook: Designs on Acting: ‘Hard Sun’ Star Agyness Deyn Talks Drama with Writer-Director Alex Ross Perry

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IF you found the bleak dystopia of The Handmaid’s Tale terrifying, you’d better buckle up for Hard Sun. The sensational Hulu/BBC drama concerns a pair of British detectives who discover that the apocalypse is coming in five years — and that the government wants them dead for finding out.

Aside from providing cryptic conspiratorial thrills, the show boasts a riveting performance from lead Agyness Deyn as the intense Elaine Renko. The emotionally wounded deputy inspector is trying to save the world, resolve family trauma, and process a growing suspicion that her partner (Jim Sturgess) is corrupt.

A former model raised in Manchester, England, Deyn, 35, has proved to be a formidable actress with an excellent taste in film and television projects. The New Yorker named her one of the best actresses of 2016 for Sunset Song, the story of a young woman persevering through a brutal rural existence in World War I-era Scotland. It’s a long way from shooting ads for Dior, Burberry, Uniqlo and Vivienne Westwood and hanging out with creative collective the Misshapes (she’s been based in NYC since the early ’00s). Next, Deyn will co-star alongside “Handmaid’s Tale” actress Elisabeth Moss in “Her Smell,” an indie film about feuding female punk rockers by writer-director Alex Ross Perry.

Perry has made a name for himself as a sensitive and curious teller of women’s stories, via a quick succession of acclaimed, fantastically cast micro-indies: 2014’s nervous-novelist tale “Listen Up Philip” (with Moss and Jason Schwartzman), 2015’s deep dive into female friendship, “Queen of Earth” (Moss again), and 2017’s “Golden Exits” (with Chloë Sevigny, Schwartzman and former Beastie Boy Adam Horovitz).

Deyn and Perry convened a meeting of their mutual admiration society on an April Saturday in New York.

 

Khaite sweater, $1,150 at Saks Fifth Avenue, 611 Fifth Ave.; Pants, $690 at BodeNewYork.com; Earrings, $496 at SimonMillerUSA.com

Alex Ross Perry: Do you remember how we met?

Agyness Deyn: We met at — what’s that place called on St. Marks? It was Cafe Orlin! Wow, this might have been, like, four years ago. We ended up sitting down for about two hours chatting — drinking loads of tea. I thought it was just so fun. I remember when you spilled the tea — about the project you were working on, about stuff we were both working on, about life. The two hours went by and we were like, “S – – t, we’ve been sitting here for a long time.”

ARP: I remember feeling exceptionally encouraged and excited by it. The meeting was for a big movie that I was trying to make that never got made. But because I ended up having a lot of meetings, now I’ve essentially been able to cast anything I’ve made since then with people I [originally] wanted to put in that movie. The following spring, I saw Terence Davies’ “Sunset Song” and was completely blown away by your performance. What path did that character set you on?

AD: I think about Terence [Davies] regularly, probably weekly. I finished that film and thought, “Oh, I suppose that I am an actor now.” I said that to Terence, and he said, “Well, of course, you are.” I remember thinking someone believed in me a million times more than I believed in myself as an actor and as a woman. He gave me a huge responsibility to carry a film he’s been trying to make for 15 years. Making that film, I went from being a girl to a woman. His projection of what a woman is helped me embody what I had in myself.

 

Shirt, $435 at BodeNewYork.com; Pants, $400 at SimonMillerUSA.com

ARP: How did that change the bar you’ve now set for yourself?

AD: I knew that I wanted to play strong women with a point of view who have something to say. “Sunset Song” and “Hard Sun” are so different, but it was kind of a continuation. Elaine [in “Hard Sun”] is this damaged but strong and enigmatic woman who seems kind of genderless and walks to the beat of her own drum. I have a very English way of being apologetic. I didn’t have that kind of “F you” attitude, and [the director] drilled that out of me very quickly. It was fast-paced, the story matter was intense. It almost killed me, but it was exhilarating to play her.

ARP: I don’t know how long the shoot for “Sunset Song” was, but with [“Hard Sun”], suddenly you’re a sprinter who has to run a marathon without training for it. 

AD: Definitely. It was such a shock. I remember saying to Jim [co-star Sturgess] after we’d done the first two episodes, “We’ve got to do this again, haven’t we?” And he was like, “Yeah.” Like a marathon, you’re not sure how you’re going to save your energy and your feelings because you don’t know how much you’ll need at the end.

ARP: Now, you can’t just say yes to some TV show that won’t be satisfying.

AD: Exactly. I have the same sensation about the movie [“Her Smell”] you and I are doing together.

 

“Making that film, I went from being a girl to a woman … It almost killed me, but it was exhilarating to play her. ”

 

ARP: We’re not asking you to come in and be this mysterious, elfin, British model-type woman. There’s music lessons involved, there’s a certain theatricality involved. We’re setting up a series of extreme challenges. 

AD: I can’t wait. It’s funny because I know I’m so excited and so terrified before a job when I start dreaming about it. I woke up this morning after having a nightmare about actually being in the band: “Oh my God, oh s–t. I don’t know the song.”

ARP: The sort of all-encompassing logistical panic of this movie is something I’ve never really experienced. 

 

Rosie Assoulin overalls, $1,695 at ModaOperandi.com; Sweater, $325 at SimonMillerUSA.com 

AD: Where did you get the idea of making this film?

ARP: I wondered, what could I be doing that no one else would be doing right now? A lot of people can make something inspired by an era 50 years removed. Maybe I do a music movie about a disreputable genre no one’s really romanticizing in the same way yet. But it’s so much more about [the] identity of all these women in this movie — motherhood and sisterhood within these bands, and addictions and addictions to people. 

AD: I always say ’79 was such a great year for music in England, with the Clash and all these brilliant bands. It was amazing to be a young person and introduced to them by different friends. It shapes you as a person. So, it’s a fun way to explore it all again and also hear everyone else’s stories.

ARP: I’ve jokingly said this is a role you’ve been preparing to inhabit for your entire life, via modeling or acting. Maybe “mysterious, ethereal rock goddess” was a career path that may [have] eluded you, but now you get to use your lifetime’s worth of knowledge to be in this character.

AD: I remember seeing images early on of the Slits and the Raincoats — these young women just doing what they wanted. It was just so exhilarating to think like, “Oh, I can be that.”

 

 

ABOUT THE SPACE

We photographed Agyness Deyn at a lower-Manhattan pied-à-terre tucked inside the 1879-built Robbins & Appleton Building, with interiors designed by Mark Zeff. Commissioned by a Miami-based couple, the Bond Street residence showcases the duo’s diverse collection of special artworks by renowned creators such as Andy Warhol. The designer was charged with maintaining the raw loft’s distinct character while also creating intimacy for the couple and their teen children. Using ribbed glass and blackened steel, Zeff partitioned the 4,500 sqaure-foot space into wonderfully dramatic tableaus, including a glass-box study and an airy kitchen designed for entertaining.

 

 

On the cover: Blazer, $1,695, and pants, $1,295, both at RosieAssoulin.com; “Elsa” earrings, $740 at AgmesNYC.com

Photos by Martien Mulder; Styling by Danielle Nachimani, Hair by Seiji using Oribe Hair Care for The Wall Group; Beauty by Gianpaolo Ceciliato using Chanel Plaette Essentielle for Tracey Mattingly Agency; Bond Street Photo by Eric Laignel

 

alexa BlackBook: California Girl: Drew Barrymore — Who’s Starring on Netflix’s ‘Santa Clarita Diet’ and in a New Campaign for Crocs — Shares Her Sunny Design Finds

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For the latest issue of alexa BlackBook, actress and star of the hit Netflix series Santa Clarita Diet Drew Barrymore rounded up her go-to picks for stylishly gearing up for spring.

 

“Admittedly, I’m a hat lady. This sun hat provides true UV protection while still looking super stylish.”


Beach hat with UPF 50+, $49.50 at Coolibar.com

 

“Yellow is the new pink! I love this sweatshirt because it is easy to wear but still whimsical and happy.”


Sweatshirt, $125 at ClareV.com

 

“I love to change up my shoe look by adding an ankle sock. These socks are a perfect mixture of silly and chic.”


“Liza” sparkle ankle socks, $18 at HappySocks.com

 

“Nothing beats a day at the pool with the kids. This is the perfect accessory to liven things up.”

 

 

Fred Segal x CB2 “Love One Another” pool float, $80 at CB2.com

 

“When in doubt, put a rainbow on it! That was my thought when designing an everyday tote that I didn’t want to be a typical everyday basic.”


Dear Drew by Drew Barrymore “Rainbow” vegan-leather tote, $95 at Amazon.com

 

“I own these in several colors. I love them because you can change out your color with your current mood. Current mood: Tangerine Dream.”


SunglassLA rimless sunglasses, $13 at Walmart.com

 

“These are my current go-to jeans. They combine comfort and style with a megadose of ’90s nostalgia.”

 


Levi’s “Wedgie” high-rise jeans, $98 at UrbanOutfitters.com

 

“Wearing Crocs’ iconic ‘Classic Clog’ is about more than making a comfort statement. It’s about being comfortable in all that you do and not being afraid to poke holes — no pun intended — in conversation.”


“Classic Clog” shoes in “Tropical Teal,” $38 at Crocs.com

 

“My go-to carry-on for 
last-minute weekend getaways. Not only is it functional, it’s also fun to look at.”

 


Dear Drew by Drew Barrymore “Take Me 
With You” carry-on suitcase, $125 at Amazon.com

 

“Move over dresses, it’s time to suit up for spring. Lately, all I want to wear is a suit. I love this one because it takes a typical fall silhouette and lightens it up for spring.”

 


Double-breasted blazer, $119, at Zara.com

 

“I love statement earrings because they can transform your look in seconds and make an LBD way more interesting.”

 

Bianca Mavrick “Otis” drop earrings, $108 at Anthropologie.com

 

Photos Courtesy of the Designers.

 

alexa BlackBook: IKEA Fever

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IKEA has long been a staple for both bargain hunters and streamline-design lovers. Now, fashion kings like Virgil Abloh (just named Louis Vuitton’s new menswear designer) are repurposing the store’s iconic blue-and-yellow logo on inventive streetwear. 
 In honor of the Swedish fever, we asked three creatives for their takes on Ikea’s iconic “Frakta” bag.

 

Brooklyn garden whiz Brook Klausing recycled his “Frakta” bag as a pretty planter.

 

Brook Klausing, a garden designer and owner of Brooklyn’s Brook Landscape, elected to use his “Frakta” bag as a flower planter, putting his own spin on eco-upscaling. “We drew inspiration from fast fashion and fast furniture to create our own version: fast foliage,” he tells Alexa.

 

LA artist Neil Raitt adorned the trusty tote with his own palm print.

 

Los Angeles-based artist Neil Raitt (who points to Bob Ross’ kitschy 1980s TV program “The Joy of Painting” as an inspiration for his repetitive landscapes — on exhibit at LA’s Anat Ebgi gallery and this year’s NYC Armory Show) also took a crack at the big blue bag. He inlaid a palm-tree print, which he originally created in 2016 for an exhibition at Mon Chéri gallery in Brussels, to create a portable piece of art.

“When you look at an Ikea bag, with its blue plastic and yellow lettering, it’s immediately recognizable,” he says. “So, I wanted to bring in something equally accessible, like a palm tree.”

 

Interior designer Ryan Korban stitched a kitschy pillow — complete with Ikea trim.

 

And finally, New York-based interior designer Ryan Korban (who’s created eye-catching spaces for all manner of high-end fashion labels, including Alexander Wang’s NYC flagship and Balenciaga stores across the globe) dreamed up a DIY Ikea throw pillow. It’s the perfect spot to rest your head after putting together all that furniture.

 

Photos by Lizzy Snaps Sullivan; Tamara Beckwith; Courtesy of Neil Raitt and Anat Ebgi.

 

How to Make Your Winter Style Iconic

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Winter footwear should be sturdy and functional, but it doesn’t need to be unsightly. Sergio Rossi has unveiled a lust-worthy line of classic silhouettes with edgy new features that allow wearers to achieve a high-fashion look without sacrificing comfort and elegance throughout the changing seasons.

For the Winter 2017-18 collection, Sergio Rossi writes the next chapter in its journey to rediscover the true essence of the brand, focusing on its DNA, expert craftsmanship and know-how. The inspirational starting point is interior design: Structured and hypnotic geometries evoke architectural patterns where polychrome resins and marbles turn into a multi-color inlay of leather and suede. The result is an “interior-walk,” a handmade couture merging interior décor with footwear.

sr1, the collection that marked a new beginning in the history of the brand, is once again center stage, with precise and clean lines for a seasonless collection. The emblematic leather tongue and its personalized silver plate (the distinctive decoration placed on each creation in the collection) are found not only on slippers and the sabot but also on booties, over-the-knee boots and ankle-strap moccasins.

 

  • The sr1 slipper, with its emblematic tongue and distinctive metallic plate, is the stand-out design this winter -- a new aesthetic of comfort and elegance.
  • The sr1 pump, the must-have shoe silhouette, debuts for the first time with a pointed toe, a tribute to a historic archive piece inspired by the boldness of ‘90s supermodels. The flawless, pointy pumps are a versatile and flattering choice for all femininity and effortless appeal. Available in both neutral and bright tones, they're a wardrobe staple.
  • Complete your look with ultra-modern, dynamic, chic footwear that bridges the gap between style and functionality. sr1 calfskin sneakers feature distinctive metal plates for a street-chic look, and a ladylike heel for an upscale feel.
  • Versatile and comfortable forms are the product of classical lines with character details and an ultra-feminine fit. With a variety of classic colors and sophisticated winter tones to choose from, you can choose the perfect pair for you this fall.
  • The multi-color inlay was entirely created by hand using a multitude of laser-cut leather tiles. The geometric pattern of the sr1 Inlay bootie is made of 150 unique hand-applied pieces, requiring more than 18 hours of work. A masterpiece.
  • These instantly crush-worthy studs put a twist on classic silhouettes to create a look with edgy detail. Add a sophisticated aspect to must-have styles, like ankle boots, slippers or pochettes, for a rocking appeal that amps up the glam of nearly any look.
  • Choose from a special selection of materials, colors and accessories to personalize your exclusive pair of sr1 slippers. The sophisticated daywear slipper is the signature model from the sr1 line, with a square toe and embellished tongue complete with the iconic Sergio Rossi plate for added elegance. Find the combination that perfectly conveys your style, and create a pair that will become the symbol of your unique taste.

Shop now!

Behind the Scenes with Norman Reedus at our alexa BlackBook Cover Shoot

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For our November issue of alexa BlackBook, ‘Walking Dead’ star Norman Reedus gave us his holiday wish list and talked with the “antichrist” himself, Marilyn Manson. Watch a behind-the-scenes video from our insane cover shoot and read the blasphemous duo’s naughty conversation, here.

 

 

Lead Photo: “O’Connor” suit, $5,440, and shirt, $560, both at TomFord.com; “Greggo Flat” Oxfords, $850 at Christian Louboutin, 967

Photography by: Chris Buck, Fashion Editor: Serena French, Styling: Cody Jones, Grooming: Kristan Serafino & Tracey Mattingly

alexa BlackBook: The Naughty List: ‘Walking Dead’ Star Norman Reedus Gets into the Holiday Spirit with Marilyn Manson

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OF course actor Norman Reedus and Marilyn Manson would go way back. The star of The Walking Dead and the musical antichrist used to run in the same LA circles during their “Superstar Girlfriend” periods in the late ’90s, when Manson was dating actress Rose McGowan and Reedus was with supermodel Helena Christensen.

A couple of decades later, Reedus has been chasing flesh-eaters for eight seasons on The Walking Dead, while Manson has branched out into TV himself, appearing on Sons of Anarchy and the supernatural Salem. Both 48, they’re now also partially bionic: Manson had steel pins put in his leg after he was injured this fall by a falling prop during his sold-out tour. Reedus’ titanium eye socket came courtesy of a motorcycle accident in 2005.

Suffice it to say the two spiritual brethren had plenty to talk about — from the timeless (Manson’s crush on Reedus’ co-star Jeffrey Dean Morgan) to the seasonally appropriate (their mutual history of horrifying holiday gifts). — Michael Martin

 

“O’Connor” suit, $5,440, and shirt, $560, both at TomFord.com; “Greggo Flat” Oxfords, $850 at Christian Louboutin, 967 Madison Ave.

 

MM: So Norman. What was your worst holiday experience?

NR: I ended up in Copenhagen one Christmas. There’s this thing there — they go to the park and have tea and cake. It’s a beautiful park, but it’s full of flowers. So there’s bees everywhere, swarming your head. It’s awful. I don’t like bees and spiders and stuff.

MM: You’re gonna freak out, and I’m not making this up. I’m sitting here with the ABC and XYZ of Bee Culture. They’re sort of comparable to zombies — they take the pollen and all return to the Queen Bee.

NR: Dude, this morning here in Georgia, I saw a giant spider — I mean the size of a pickle — and five or six giant webs that go from the top of the second level all the way down to the ground. The other night, Jeffrey [Dean Morgan] and I were peeking at these huge spiders, the size of your fists. And we start tweeting, “Anyone know what this spider is?” I think it’s called an Orb spider.

MM: I think I read about those. I once had this spider web that went all the way across my driveway, and I almost ran into a spider the size of a golf ball. It was terrifying. I looked it up on the interwebs: It was a Hobo Spider. I shot it with a pellet gun, and spider guts came out of it. But I felt the need to — it was threatening my life.

NR: When I was really little, I woke up in bed and there was a little spider next to my head on the wall in the corner. I took clear scotch tape and just taped it there and left it. And I woke up the next two mornings and there were millions of little baby spiders on the wall next to my bed. I don’t know if this has to do with my fear of creepy crawly things, but I’m not cool with creepy crawly things, or things that buzz in my ear.

MM: So I’m not putting spiders and bees in your gift basket. Have you ever wildly missed missed the mark with a holiday gift you’ve given?

NR: I gave a girlfriend of mine a little brown taxidermy bunny in a pink bag. I thought it was the coolest thing ever. It was a cute little bunny. And she opened up the paper bag and started crying, because she used to have a bunny that looked just like that that died a horrible death. That gift went horribly south.

MM: But sometimes the gift that makes a girl cry is nice. It’s good for the ozone, global warming. The tears of a woman can be the greatest gift of all to the Earth.

NR: This isn’t Brooklyn. Nothing grew out of the ground from tears. She just burst into tears — it was awful. What’s the craziest gift you ever got?

MM: A taser from my friend, and from my girl, a trench knife.

 

Shirt, $425 at 
Versace.com

 

NR: Are you in the hospital right now?

MM: I’m in a hospital-type bed that I created in my living room. My injury was in New York, but I went home to L.A. to get the surgery. When I get the cast off, I’ll see what happens. It sucks.

NR: Are you going back on tour after your leg heals?

MM: Absolutely. You’re in Atlanta right now, aren’t you?

NR: Yep, I’m in Georgia until Thanksgiving and then I go on to the motorcycle show. I’d love to have you there; I’ll make that work.

MM: It all ties together in a certain way. I tricked my way onto Sons of Anarchy because it was one of my father’s favorite shows, to make him happy. And my dad used to have a Honda. But it was a cool Honda.

NR: Hondas are cool.

NR: I just burnt my leg on a tail pipe. I had to walk through a swamp with a giant burn on my leg. I think it got infected.

MM: Were you not wearing pants?

NR: I was actually in my underwear. I was moving bikes. I was out in the woods so I could walk around in my underwear. I think I’m from the country, but I’m not. I pretend I am.

MM: You should be a genuine hillbilly, which I am. I lived in Ohio, but my dad taught me how to shoot a gun when I was 7. Then I got my first bow and arrow. The first thing I did with it was I pulled it back and told my cousin to run. He ran into this field, and I shot it and hit him right in the ass. My father gave me a knife, and I stabbed my cousin’s leg with it automatically. I never got that knife back.

NR: You give people knives and they attack you with them. At least you didn’t have to have sex with your cousin.

 

“O’Connor” suit, $5,440, and shirt, $560, both at TomFord.com; “Greggo Flat” Oxfords, $850 at Christian Louboutin, 967 Madison Ave.

 

MM: What are we asking Santa Claus for for Christmas this year?

NR: I kinda want a dog. I haven’t had one since I was a kid. My cat’s an asshole, so I kinda want a dog. A little Mad Max dog. What do you want for Christmas?

MM: What do I want for Christmas? I want for Christmas, I want to have a little tussle with Jeffrey Dean Morgan.

NR: Like a sleepover?

MM: Yeah, like a sleepover.

NR: Or like, you want to punch him in the face?

MM: No, no, like a sleepover. I want to smell his pomade, I want to inhale his essence.

NR: I don’t know how I’m going to make that work, but I’m going to get you that for Christmas.

MM: I want a remake of Showgirls but performed by me, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, and you.

NR: I want you on a stage singing “Tiny Bubbles.” That’s what I want. And maybe a koi pond.
I’d like to wear Rocky Balboa’s shorts, gloves, and “Italian Stallion” robe for a night.

MM: In the porno film or in Rocky?

NR: I never saw the porno film.

MM: I never did either. So back to the list — I’ll get you a dog.

NR: Yeah, get me a puppy! If you come to Atlanta at all, Jeff and I live like five houses from each other. We hang out and ride motorcycles all the time.

MM: Are you trying to make me jealous?  I should’ve been a sports star. I used to be a skating champion. When that was a thing, back in the era of roller skating. I lost my ability. One of my favorite gifts for Christmas were these Blue Spruce skates. They were long and wide, sort of like skateboards but pre-skateboard. And they made my afternoons in Ohio when I was about 12, wearing iron-on t-shirts, of course.

NR: I think I remember those skates — they were black with white stripes, yeah?

MM: Yeah, that’s exactly the ones I had. I remember my mom saved up for a couple of months to get those for Christmas for me.

NR: What are your plans for the holidays this year?

MM: I don’t celebrate Christmas. Halloween is my favorite holiday. As a kid, I wanted to dress up every day. And now that’s my life. If I went to a Marilyn Manson costume contest I would lose, because they would not believe what I look like. You know what would be funny? If on Christmas we went to Hollywood Boulevard as impersonators of ourselves. Would we get away with it? That’d be hilarious.

NR: Yes! I’ll be you, you be me.

MM: Let’s go on a date — the two sexiest men in the world at once. The world woke up to it.
Except I gotta be me with a crippled leg and a wheelchair.

NR: And you’re going to tussle with Jeffrey on Halloween. It’s going to be the greatest ever.

MM: Perfect.

 

Norman’s Wish List

1. A dog.
2. A koi pond: “I want it to light up from the bottom, with fluorescent paint.”
3. A flamethrower.
4. A couple of robots “that clean your floor when you’re not at home.”
5. To meet and go on a motorcycle ride with Cher.

 

Marilyn’s Wish List

1. An outdoor pool, “above-ground white-trash-style.”
2. A flamethrower.
3. “A life-size statue of a three-headed creature that is me, Norman Reedus and Jeffrey Dean Morgan.”
4. “A remake of Showgirls with me, Norman Reedus and Jeffrey Dean Morgan.”
5. Pop Rocks.

 

 

 

On the cover: Tuxedo, $6,295, and vest, $1,745, both at Brunello Cucinelli, 136 Greene St.; 
Shirt, $675 at Dolce & Gabbana, 717 Fifth Ave.

Photos by: Chris Buck Fashion Editor: Serena French, Styling: Cody Jones, Grooming: Kristan Serafino & Tracey Mattingly, Illustration by: John Kenzie