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

 

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

 

YSL Beauty Casts Zoë Kravitz in Bold, Black-and-White Campaign

Photo via Instagram

“YSL Beauty has always been one of my favorite brands,” says actress and Lolawolf pack leader Zoë Kravitz, announcing her partnership with the timeless fashion house. “Nothing is forced, nothing is fake, but everything is bold, strong and unafraid.”

The news arrived with three black-and-white photos, as YSL Beauty mused about the 27-year-old’s “talented, cool and free-spirited” energy. “She embodies the YSL Beauty woman and the brand’s vision of beauty,” they said. “We are proud to announce that the new U.S. YSL Beauty muse is the amazing actress and singer Zoë Kravitz.”

This casting follows Balenciaga, which also recruited Kravitz for their spring ’16 campaign alongside German model Anna Ewers, though YSL Beauty’s will exist exclusively on social media. Without giving away any spoilers, the brand revealed that Kravitz’s partnership will include a video project, some music and “lots of makeup looks.”

 

 

 

 

 

The Last Act: Model and Singer Bebe Buell On Closing Down Hiro Ballroom

Hiro Ballroom will close its doors after Saturday evening’s bash, and with it goes yet another venue where rock, as we know it, could strut its stuff. The clubs, for the most part, feature hip hop, electronic, and house because those formats are featured by the bottle-buying public. Rockers drink bottles of beer, not bottles of Goose. Rock will be relegated to the cracks where it does better anyway. The closing of Hiro will not dampen the talented forces of rock and roll, but may force them into the creative cauldrons of Brooklyn. Marky Ramone’s band Blitzkrieg is headlining the perfectly imperfect venue The Bellhouse this Sunday, and so it will be. Rock won’t retreat or hide under a rock; it will simply wiggle to where it is wanted. It will survive where NY’s culture thrives …off the L train or the J or the F or someplace just a hop, skip, and a jump away via a Northside Car. The last hurrah of Hiro will be headlined by rock icon Bebe Buell. Known more for who she has famously slept with, sire Bebe offers rock purity from rock royalty as the Hiro doors ache to be shuttered. To get you to a place of understanding Bebe is Liv Tyler’s mom and has been linked over the decades with stars like Steven TylerTodd Rundgren, and Stiv Bators. Bebe is too often the subject of gossip because of her association with so many boldfaced names, but she is very much her own person and has her own talent. I once told her that she wasn’t cool because the rock stars dated her…they were seen as much cooler because she dated them. She liked me for that. She’s a busy Bebe but we squeezed in time between rehearsals to chat at the BlackBook office.

We are here because it is a sad day in the rock and roll world; Saturday is the last night of the Hiro Ballroom, which is one of the venues where cool bands have been playing for the last number of years. It’s going to be changed. The last act, the last night, is this coming Saturday and Bebe Buell is performing. Tell me about the band and tell me about what it means to you to close down the Hiro Ballroom.

Well, when I put my last album out before "Hard Love," which was "Sugar," it was Hiro Ballroom who gave me a platform to get back on stage again. I hadn’t been on stage in a while and so they are like family to me. It is one of my favorite rooms. I’ve done three sold-out shows there, and this one that I’m doing Saturday will be the last one. And there were quite a few bands in the city that wanted to close it down and I just stayed out of the entire thing, but they asked me if I wanted to do it. So I was really—a great honor.

So who is in the band?

Well I have Pete Marshall and he played with Iggy Pop and Glenn Danzig. He played with Iggy for years. He started as my bass player and now he is my second guitar player. I have Jimmy Walls, who was in D Generation for their last tour. He is the other guitar player. On bass I have Keith Roth. I had Enzo Penizzotto for my album; he played with Joan Jett for eight years and came back to me. I just lost him because he got the Memphis tour, you know that Broadway musical Memphis? He just got the whole touring thing. He is going to be going on the road with that so now I’ve got Keith Roth in my band, which is a real plus. He is also a radio guy. He does the Electric Ballroom and he also does Sirius. And I have Louisa Bradshaw on backing vocals; I have Sarah Tomek, a young girl from Asbury Park, on drums. And then I have on keyboards, my baby, I love him. He’s the baby of the bunch. Well he and Sarah are both the babies—Zac Lasher—and I found him

from a jam band, believe it or not, called U-Melt. I really saw his talent and I knew I had to get him in my band for obvious reasons. Juilliard protégé; he’s a genius.

How long have you been playing rock and roll?

That’s funny! What a question. My first band I started in 1980 and I made my first record in 1979/1980 with Ric Ocasek from The Cars. The Cars played on my first album “Cover Girl” on Rhino. And Rick Derringer, remember Rick Derringer? Yeah, he produced a couple of tracks. It was actually an EP.

At one point I was gonna say you are a rock and roll coochie-coo. You’ve got rock roots.

I do. I have absolute rock roots. I actually came to New York City because my mother sent my high school graduation picture to Eileen Ford, and the next thing you know I was on an airplane. And I would have gotten to New York any way I could. So if I was going to get here through modeling, I was going to get here through modeling. But as soon as I got here, I got into lots of trouble. I wouldn’t really call it trouble.

Well some of that trouble is what made you famous!

I discovered Max’s Kansas City. I started a very long-term relationship with Todd Rundgren. We weren’t married so we lived a very crazy Bob-and-Ted-and-Carol-and- Alice lifestyle, which I wouldn’t recommend for anybody because it is emotionally draining. It took me about six years to actually get a band together and really get down to business.

The other day you told me something that was very funny. You said that most people think that Steven Tyler gave birth to Liv – that Liv actually came out of his penis.

Which is funny because for a lot of my career, you know, people have always called me the girlfriend of, the mother of, etc. And it has just become, almost, a giggle at this point. I don’t get upset about it; I don’t take it personally. I find it very one-dimensional. First of all, it takes two people to date. It takes two people to make a child. And the way the media works in our country, the person who has the bigger name is the one that gets the credit for everything, including giving birth. In Europe, it’s a whole different story. I love America; I live here. But I have always gotten more respect in the UK and foreign countries.

Well I said to you that, you know, some people think they are cool because you dated all these rock stars. And I said maybe they were cool because they dated Bebe Buell.

I don’t look at it either way. I think people date who they date. You meet somebody…it’s chemistry! I can honestly say that I have never dated somebody as a social or a political move. I have always followed my heart and have only dated people that I loved and that I really had feelings for. I’ve turned down some pretty big dates, trust me. Warren Beatty! When I met Shirley MacLaine –  a lot of people don’t realize they are brother and sister – I went to one of her spiritual things; you know, she talks a lot about metaphysics and past lifetimes and things. She used to do these wonder seminars. And I met her afterward and I looked at her and I said, “You know you and I have something in common." And she looked at me and said, “What’s that?” I said, “Both of us have never slept with Warren Beatty!”

Well, there is a funny story with that. Shirley was on the Johnny Carson Show and Johnny asked her, “ As you are Warren’s sister, you are aware he is famous for sleeping with all these starlets. Is his reputation warranted?” And she said, “Well Johnny, I think that Warren has slept with every starlet in Hollywood except me, and I’m not so sure about that."

Oh, that is hilarious. She’s funny and, of course, she has never slept with him. I have to say: Warren has very good taste. I met a couple of his girlfriends and now his wife, and he never went there. He never went with any riff-raff. He is not a bottom feeder.

Bebe Buell

I met you at a Stiv Bators show, a The Dead Boys show, at my father’s place in Long Island a long time ago. I was sitting with a beautiful girl and you were actually sitting at the same table as us and we didn’t watch the show. We were just watching you. You were the most amazing person we had ever seen and you were very, very sweet. I have always told everybody that you were the sweetest person to us. You made us feel like we were friends of yours.

Well I think it is important to make people feel comfortable and at ease when you are sort of the hostess at an event. 

You told me then and you told again recently, that the thing about Stiv… he was this firecracker, an incredible performer, but also – as well as being incredibly talented – he was very intelligent.

Very smart. What people don’t realize is that he was just a small-town boy from Ohio. He was just a kid that went to see Iggy Pop. He handed him a jar of peanut butter and the rest is history. You know, but in some ways, he was even a more agile performer than Iggy Pop. Some of the things Stiv could do, I don’t think Iggy could do. Stiv could wrap himself up like a pretzel; he could hang himself. He could do all kinds of things. More like Alice Cooper. 

But Stiv was probably one of the sweetest, nicest boyfriends I ever had. We drifted apart. Stiv and I were like—my visual—we were sort of like a rock and roll, punk rock Sonny and Cher. I was a good three heads taller than him. He was extremely funny and when we were together we sort of had a banter like Sunny and Cher did. We would just tease each other and we had this crazy banter. In the end, we ended up becoming really good friends. Our romance peetered out and our friendship expounded, if that makes any sense. 

We used to have a house up in Maine and he would come and stay with me there. He would play on the monkey bars with the kids. The kids loved him. He was a pretzel; he could do any death-defying feat there is. All the kids loved to play with him because he could contort and do all these things to make them laugh, like push his thumbs back and all that kind of stuff. He was great with kids and he was great with animals. I mean, there are just sides to people that people don’t know about. They think its just like a girl goes “Ooh! I want that one!” and then they go and have sex in a dressing room. That’s just not real life. I have never had sex in a dressing room. I’ve never picked up one boyfriend I have ever had backstage.

You’ve dated very famous people. How did these people meet you? What kind of occasions?

It’s New York City! Models and rock stars have been pollinating for how long? This is nothing new. Rock stars who were making an iota of success – the first thing they want to do is upgrade the girls they date. That’s the first thing they want to do, and they want a model. Now it’s that they want a Playboy centerfold, a Sports Illustrated swimsuit girl. It is something they seek out.

So you prefer the word “model." Some people used to call you a groupie and I think that is a terrible name. I don’t think you were a groupie. Some people say you were one of the most famous groupies of all time.

No, I don’t think I was. I don’t think so. I think that title goes to that girl Pamela Des Barres. Pamela Miller, or whatever.

So you were not a groupie at all but you dated rock stars.

I think that’s the part about lazy journalism. The first thing they think of is “Oh! She is dating a rock star. She must be a groupie. Oh my goodness!”

Who else did you date besides rock stars?

The way you say all that! You act like I…

I just want the readers to know!

I can count my lovers on two hands. Can you?

Oh, absolutely not.

Ok. See! So, I always want to say to everybody else, “Tell me about all the people that you have dated. You’ve dated a lot more people than I have!”

What I’m asking you though is, in between all the rock stars, were there other people? Lawyers, doctors, etc.?

No, I never dated a lawyer. I never dated a doctor. I did date one photographer and his name was Clive Arrowsmith, which was really funny. I dated him when I was in London and he shot me for Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar and I did a lot of my best work, my biggest work, with him…he and David Bailey were the biggest photographers in the UK in the 1970s, in that early part of the ‘70s when I came up. Right before I started seeing Steven and before I got pregnant with Liv, I dated Clive Arrowsmith a little bit, which I think is hilarious because I went on to have a child with Steven Tyler from Aerosmith. Life is very interesting. If I had all the answers, if I could put together the puzzle for you, I would. But I can’t even explain to you—I have had this wonderful, serendipitous life. I have just had these synchronistic moments…I am like Forrest Gump. I tell everybody that. I just fall into these wonderful situations.

Bebe Buell

You are looking for this sort of energy that rockers give you.

I think we all look for the energy that we emanate. I have to be around the people that think like I do and that understand how I think. If I am asleep in the bed and get a song idea, I leap up out of the bed and get a pen and paper. When I lived with Elvis Costello, he did the same thing. When I lived with Todd (Rundgren), he did the same thing. I think like-minded people find each other.

What is the same about Steven, Elvis, and Todd? Where is the similarity?

Brilliant, multifaceted human beings. People don’t realize what a brilliant drummer Steven Tyler is. He started as a drummer.

When did the companion aspect end in the relationship? Hmmm, let me word this right: did you at times move off being a companion, like at a gig, and become just a fan like everyone else? Did that happen?

I think, to have that consciousness when you are in a relationship, you have to think that way. And I just never thought that way. I don’t judge people and I don’t hero- worship. People ask me frequently who my heroes are and I hate to sound like an old punk rocker, but I am. I don’t have any heroes. I have people that I admire and respect and want to learn from. I can’t say that I have any heroes, but I can say that I worship some people: Albert Einstein, Oscar Wilde. The people that I really admire, they are all dead. You know…John Lennon. They are all human, too. People that I tend to admire are not perfect. They are fallible. I think that is why we all love John Lennon so much – because he wasn’t perfect. He was a man that made many mistakes.

You actually had a conversation with him, didn’t you? Tell me about that.

Well I did. I had many really in-depth amazing conversations with him. I met John through Mick (Jagger). It was my birthday and Todd was in the studio and I was a little sad that I didn’t have my boyfriend to spend my birthday with me. But Todd was a workaholic before it was even fashionable to be a workaholic. I think he even had the first computer in the ‘70s, probably even before Bill Gates had one. But Mick felt a little bad for me and said that we should go out to dinner. We went down to the Lower East Side to this Japanese place called Me; its not there anymore. He said that he had a surprise for me. And earlier in our relationship he had asked me, “If you could meet three people, who would you want to meet?” And I said Edgar Allen Poe, Albert Einstein, Oscar Wilde, my usual, and John Lennon. And he said, “Oh, well that is the only one alive out of that whole group." And then we went on to the next subject and I guess that stuck with him.

So after we got done eating we got in a cab and I said “Where are we going?” and he said, “Oh, you’ll see in a minute!” And it was during John’s time with May Pang and we got out of the cab. We arrived at this apartment uptown and we had to walk up some stairs. We came in and knocked on the door. The door opens and we had to go up a set of stairs and at the top of the staircase, taking a Polaroid of us as we ascended the stairs, was John Lennon. And that picture, that very photo that he took of us, is in May Pang’s book, the one filled with all the Polaroids. I think I could say that may have been the first time in my life that I may have been a little star-struck.

The second time was when I met Salvador Dali at The Ritz, at the magazine store. I adored him as a child. I thought he was just fascinating. He invited me to tea when I was eighteen at The Ritz-Carlton. So I went and had tea with Dali and Amanda Lear, and some other very unusual person who I cant remember anymore. Maybe it was Varushka? And I feel that it was one of those magical moments. He (John Lennon) said he had just seen a UFO, so we spent the entire time talking about aliens because May had heard it all before. I believed him and was very fascinated so I wanted to hear everything he had to say about aliens. And then we went down to Chinatown at four in the morning and ate in one of the all-night restaurants. These were the kind of stories…these are the most sacred memories to me because it is all about cutting your teeth and learning. I was really lucky to learn so much from so many exquisite human beings.

Well, I listened to the album and I have to say there were a lot of things on there that I feel were great, I mean, really great. Tell me more.

I’m just really excited to be playing the final Hiro. I am very touched. The album is "Hard Love." I think it is my best work. I think it is the best thing I have ever done. You know, I have made a lot of records. I’m New York’s best-kept secret. I am a cult artist and I always have been. I have never been Madonna or Lady Gaga. I have always been a little under the radar, a little underground. I think that I have never always gotten my shots because people are so occupied with the glamorous boyfriends that I had and the Playboy or whatever they are distracted by. But I don’t do this because I am trying to win any brownie points. I do this because it is who I am. I am a songwriter and a singer and I have been my whole life. I was a contra-alto in the sixth grade. I was the only contra-alto of my age group in four states. I have a background in singing and when you listen to my material, you can sing this. I’m not just some kid who picked up a microphone and said, “I think I am going to sing this week!”

So Saturday night at Hiro. I will be there and I guess a lot of the people who read this are going to run out.

Oh yeah, it is going to be a good night. A lot of people love Hiro, and one thing about New York City is that when we say goodbye to something or someone, everybody comes out to pay their respects. And it is also the one-year anniversary of the departure of Don Hill, so the timing of it is kind of auspicious. It is the end of a great room and the end of one of the greatest men…we made a slideshow for him. A beautiful Don Hill slideshow.

Industry Insiders: Clarice Lam, Chef and Owner of The Baking Bean

Clarice Lam swapped Prada sportswear for kitchen whites when the former model-turned-baker launched The Baking Bean, an online pastry business. Everything from rosemary butter croissants and raspberry to mango peach pie is made to order and delivered to your door. Here, our September 2012 Industry Insider and sweets-expert shares what inspired her to dive into the pastry business, the challenges she’s overcome, and how sweet it is to do what you love.  

How did you first launch The Baking Bean?
I had always been doing special orders and custom desserts for friends, and through word-of-mouth on the side. At their behest, I put a name to it, and thus The Baking Bean was born.

What makes your business unique from other online pastry companies?
We don’t have a set menu. You can really order anything your heart desires AND it will be delivered to you! We also offer a monthly dessert club, which for $100/mo you can get four desserts a month, with one delivery per week!

What’s your favorite treat on the menu, and how would you describe your signature style?
I love the peanut butter and jelly smores. It’s peanut butter shortbread cookie with raspberry jam and marshmallow, all enrobed in Belgian milk chocolate and topped with peanuts and fleur de sel. So addictive! And my style is definitely elegant, whimsical, and a little bit of street.

You’ve worked as a model for years, traveled and lived in various parts of the world, and studied fashion. How has that lifestyle informed your current work as a baker?
Thanks to my travels for 10+ years, I was able to study the food from different cultures while simultaneously being influenced by the beauty of those cities. All of those flavors have made their way into my work now.

What do you love and not love about the pastry industry?
I work in pastry because it’s my passion and because I love it. What nobody loves about the industry, whether it be pastry or savory, is the pay. We work really hard for not that much, but we do it because we love what we do.

You’ve encountered and overcome great trauma as well. What would you say was the foremost thing you learned from that experience years ago, and how has that lesson affected your work?
Being in an accident that left me nearly paralyzed or dead has taught me to never give up and to always fight and work harder. It has made me even more driven than I already was. When I first started in this industry and still had problems walking, I never used it as an excuse to do a mediocre job or to catch a break, and I never will. I will always use any hardships that come my way to make me a stronger and better person.

What’s your ultimate goal with your business?
Let’sput it this way… if someone were to be shown an ink blot of something resembling a cake, I would want their response to be The Baking Bean.

For a list of all of Clarice’s favorite spots for sweets, click here

Lee Miller

Model. Muse. Fearless War Correspondent.

After gracing the covers of Vogue and being the muse and lover to a famous artist, she could have cashed in on her beauty and fame. But instead, Lee Miller became a leading war correspondent, documenting the atrocities of the Second World War and Nazi concentration camps. She also became an awesome cook.

The genius of the girl from Poughkeepsie NY was that she was able to live many lives when most of us barely live one. Not content with being a famous model, Miller left New York for the gritty bohemian life of 1930s Paris, where she met her man and match, Man Ray. But her restlessness and intellect got the better of her and she started taking her own photographs.

[expand title=”READ +”]

In 1942, she embarked on a new career as a photojournalist, accredited into the U.S. Army as a war correspondent (the first female to do this) and traveled to France less than a month after D-Day. She recorded the first use of napalm at the siege of St. Malo, the liberation of Paris, the battle for Alsace, and the horror of the Nazi concentration camps at Buchenwald and Dachau. Where her fashion world contemporaries where photographing Chanel and Tiffany’s, Miller photographed dying children in a Vienna Hospital, peasant life in post-war Hungary and finally the execution of Prime Minister László Bárdossy.

Not surprisingly on her return to Britain, Lee suffered from severe clinical depression and what later became known as post-traumatic stress syndrome. She began to drink heavily and rely on various narcotics to cope with her post-war life.

In 1949, she and then husband, surrealist painter and poet Roland Penrose, bought Farley Farm House in Sussex, England. During the 1950s and 1960s, Farley Farm became an artistic Mecca for visiting artists such as Picasso, Man Ray, Henry Moore, Eileen Agar, Jean Dubuffet, Dorothea Tanning, and Max Ernst.

While Miller continued to do the occasional shoot for Vogue, she soon discarded the darkroom for the kitchen becoming a successful gourmet cook. However, images from the war, especially the concentration camps, continued to haunt her and she started on a yet another downward spiral.

Lee Miller eventually died from cancer at Farley Farm House in 1977, aged 70. She was cremated, and her ashes spread through her herb garden at Farley Farm House.

 Text by Howard Collinge- The Unique Creatures 

[/expand]

[nggallery template=’large-slideshow’ id=48]

[wih-post-categories-tags] [wih-post-date format=’M d, Y’]

GET LEE MILLER’S LOOK

[nggallery template=’popup-slideshow’ id=13]

Modelology: What’s Supermodel Natalia Vodianova Up To?

Supermodel Natalia Vodianova, who celebrated her 28th birthday yesterday, was “discovered” at age 15, around the same time she was selling fruit on the streets of Nizhny Novgorod, Russia to make money for her poverty-stricken family. I say “discovered” because the ambitious young girl had actually enrolled in a modeling academy, where she became conversational in English—at the request of a model scout—in under three months. At 17, Vodianova signed with Viva Models in Paris, pursuing a career that would come to include contracts with Calvin Klein, Louis Vuitton, and Yves Saint Laurent. Aside from occasional red-carpet appearances and ad campaigns, what’s she up to now?

Aside from contracts with L’Oréal, David Yurman, Marc Jacobs, Pepe Jeans, Diane von Fürstenberg, Chanel, and Guerlain that reportedly earn her around 5 million dollars a year, Miss Vodianova has also made a quiet transition into acting, most recently in the 2010 remake of the film Clash of the Titans (she’s the CGI-enhanced Medusa), and landed her first leading role in a film adaptation of Albert Cohen’s 1968 novel Belle du Seigneur, scheduled to be released in 2012. Her still-vibrant career, her role as a mother of three, and what many call a fairy-tale marriage to British property heir Justin Trevor Berkeley Portman (although rumors of divorce have recently been circulating) are all rounded out by her passion for charity. “I have done it. I have everything I want,” she told AskMen.com “I have made enough money to secure my family, and that is all I care about.”

She founded Naked Heart Foundation, an organization that builds playgrounds and parks for the children of Russia. She started the charity after visiting Russia with her son Lucas, noticing that there wasn’t anywhere for Lucas to play with other children. To date, the organization has built 38 playgrounds in urban areas around Russia. Natalia is also an ambassador for Hear the World, a campaign that raises awareness about hearing loss, and a spokesperson for the Tiger Trade Campaign, an alliance that aims to conserve wild tigers by stopping the trade of tiger parts and products. Last November, she won the Harper’s Bazaar Inspiration of the Year Award in honor of her philanthropic achievements. “I give probably fifty per cent of my time to charity,” she recently told Vogue. “The work is quite addictive. It’s really hard to stop after you feel you’ve made someone else happy. We started a new program where we give away grants and support to organizations that improve childhood for orphans and the disabled.”

Meet Fashion’s Latest Model Obsession

It’s a good time to be Ashley Smith. With the fashion industry finally warming up to curves and moving away from a rail-thin, size zero standard, a mannequin with a rack—in Smith’s case, 32D’s—has a shot at real stardom. Just look at Lara Stone, who Smith is invariably compared to not only because of her curves (to note, her waist still clocks in at a teeny-tiny 24 inches), but thanks to the extremely prominent gap between her two front teeth. (In fact, with Georgia May Jagger landing a slew of major campaigns and a newly married Stone as in demand as ever, it appears we’re entering the age of the gaped teeth. Sorry braces and big shoulders, fashion’s moved on.) The blogosphere has been abuzz for weeks over rising star Smith, but Fashionista was the first to do a lengthier profile.

What does it reveal about the 19-year-old Texan? For starters, she was discovered at SXSW. She deems Quentin Tarantino the best story teller in the world. And, while the size of her bust has been a deterrent for certain designers in the past, she’s optimistic that it won’t hold her back. “One day they will just adjust all the clothes to my bust, rather than me having to adjust my breasts for their clothes.” Her dream job? “Mert and Marcus + Louis Vuitton campaign!” Stone—Marc Jacobs’ latest L.V. ad star—better watch out. Beyond modeling, Smith loves painting and drawing and she dreams of one day becoming a thespian. “I’ve always wanted to be a Broadway actress. You know Little Shop of Horrors? I’m gonna play Audrey one day! Just you wait.”

Irina Lazareanu: The Latest Major Model Turned Designer

The roster of models-turned-designers just got longer. Mannequin-cum-musician Irina Lazareanu is finally launching her clothing line, which Derek Blasberg spilled the beans on back in March. Called Rini, the line is slated to be “launching in September in Japan under the Baroque umbrella,” says casting agent Natalie Joos, who got the latest scoop on Lazareanu’s line. “The collection is primarily based on vintage and will include flapper dresses, little jackets, seventies flower skirts and shirts,” Joos added.

Considering Lazareanu’s rock ‘n roll appeal–skinny jeans and leather are everyday staples–she’s likely to garner a similar reception as fellow self-styled models-turned-designers like Erin Wasson and Kate Moss. Whether or not Seibu, the Japanese department store with whom Lazareanu has partnered on the line, will stock the wares outside of Japan, however, remains to be seen.

The Met Costume Gala Re-Cap

One of fashion’s biggest nights took place yesterday as designers, models and a slew of celebrities sauntered into Manhattan’s Metropolitan Museum clad in their best black tie attire. GAP and Vogue played host, as the night coincided with the debut of the Met’s new exhibit, “American Woman: Fashioning a National Identity.” True to rumors that started swirling last June, this year’s Costume Gala was decidedly more understated than years past. Namely, the number of celebrities in attendance fell a good deal short of even last year’s affair. Where was Madonna? And Kate Moss? Not to mention Lady Gaga, who performed for fashion’s elite last night in jewel-encrusted Armani Prive catsuit, didn’t even make it down the red carpet.

As for the fashions: the most audible message was surely that hemlines have dropped. While cropped mini dresses were widely prevalent on last year’s red carpet, 2010 saw the opposite. Everywhere you looked another designer or model was walking around in a floor-length Grecian number, or something far more minimalist (read: Zoe Saldana and Diane Kruger in Calvin Klein). Hair, like hemlines, was worn long in most cases. While buns abounded, so did guests who chose to leave their locks totally untouched. Keeping in the casual vein were pantsuits and jumpers: Tina Fey sported one as did Alexa Chung, Chanel Iman and Ricky Lauren. Sadly, on fashion’s potentially most sartorially adventurous night of the year most Gala guests chose to play it exceedingly safe. image image image image image image