Olivier Theyskens Selects 4 Cool Girls to Model His Designs

Every girl wants to wear Theyskens’ Theory, but who does Olivier Theyskens really want to see wearing Theyskens’ Theory? To celebrate the in-store release of his line’s spring collection, Barneys New York asked the designer to select four girls from four different cities that best represent the effortlessly cool looks. 

His ladies of choice—Caroline Issa of London’s Tank Magazine; Emily Weiss of NY’s Into the Gloss (pictured), Parisian artist Yi Zhou, and LA singer (who actually lives in NY now) Sky Ferreira—recently participated in a Theysken’s Theory-clad, Olivier Theyskens-styled shoot for the legendary department store’s blog.

If you’re curious to know what he’s specifically looking for in a muse, the designer breaks it down: "I want them to be beautiful, sharp, sophisticated, clever, free and relaxed. The Theyskens’ Theory girl is ubiquitously cool and modern and it transcends through her clothes." See all the snaps and some Q&A action here.  

An Indie-Rock Last Supper In Vampire Weekend’s ‘Diane Young’ Video

Santigold looks lonely, Dirty Projectors’ Dave Longstreth likes to play with fire and Sky Ferreira is chewing gum at the table. Then, someone busts out the sparklers and the champagne right as the drums kick in, and the party shifts in to a much higher gear. This is not the sort of Last Supper da Vinci envisioned, but rather the work of music video director Primo Kahn and Vampire Weekend, who take the classic (probably now a bit cliché) Last Supper tableau and invite some key names of indie rock to the party, including the aforementioned, along with members of The Walkmen and Chromeo for the band’s "Diane Young" video. 

Like the song itself, the "Diane Young" video is bouncy, full of saxophones and makes you want to do that ’80s WHAM! arm-swinging dance move, and this is meant entirely as a compliment. At some point, a saxophone is used as a giant bong, which is probably a thing that is going to cause some related injuries among some rather adventurous high school jazz band members. This is the sort of thing that should be left to the professionals. Enjoy the delightful song and colorful video below. 

Downtown NYC Festival Adds New Acts

With just under a month to go till the Downtown NYC Festival kicks off on May 10, two-day passes are already sold out, but $75 one-day tickets are still on sale. The event spans great venues including Mercury Lounge, Bowery Ballroom, Angel Orensanz, Pianos, Cake Shop, Tammany Hall, Element, Capitale, and Rockwood Music Hall—and features some of the hottest emerging bands.

New additions include Andrew Wyatt (of Miike Snow) and hipster-fried R&B pioneer Autre Ne Veut, as well as Mr. Muthafuckin eXquire, who is likely worth seeing for the name alone. They will join such performers as Purity Ring, Earl Sweatshirt, d’Eon, Sky Ferreira, Ducktails, Beach Fossils, and the endlessly funky Teengirl Fantasy.

The festival will be hitting some other cities with modified lineups, but you know they won’t be as good. Though who knows? Some magnificent crooner might come aboard in the Vegas leg of the tour.

Personal Faves: The Man Behind the Music, Dev Hynes

Instead of ending the year with a slew of Best Of lists, BlackBook asked our contributors to share the most important moments in art, music, film, television, and fashion that took place in 2012. Here, Natalie Alcala writes of the big year for multi-hyphenate wunderkind, Dev Hynes.

One rainy September night during London Fashion Week, a who’s who of style influencers swarmed the Liberty of London boutique for a Kenzo fête hosted by the Parisian label’s new creative directors, Opening Ceremony’s Humberto Leon and Carol Lim. Just as open bar debauchery began to form, gravitating guitar sounds beckoned partygoers to the stage, where an exceedingly stylish fella in a red suit and a black leather baseball cap held their eardrums captive for the rest of the night. Meet Devonté "Dev" Hynes.

Although the Texas born, British bred multi-hyphenate musician performed as Blood Orange that night—and most nights these days—he’s also been known as Lightspeed Champion. "It’s all the same shit really," says Hynes of his various guises. "I just use different names to help aid people’s minds." Mind aiding is necessary for those not accustomed to the 26-year-old’s mad scientist-style skills, which include wizardry on the bass, guitar, cello, drums and violin, writing and producing songs for the likes of The Chemical Brothers, Diana Vickers, and Theophilus London, and working with celebrities like former Saturday Night Live funny lady Kristen Wiig (who could forget that "Rock My Body" duet from the MacGruber soundtrack?).

But even virgin ears at the LFW party that were unfamiliar with the wunderkind and his impressive body of work, were instantly hooked to Hynes’ retro-infused rock, funk, folk and soul vibe—a sound that’s impossible to pigeonhole. "I only care about melodies and chords, which is why my music is all over the place," Hynes explains. "But if you listen carefully, nothing is really changing too much, aside from aesthetic." His delightfully scattered sounds led to a host of opportunities this year, including a tour with Florence + The Machine and a hot-ticket gig composing the soundtrack to Kenzo’s Paris Fashion Week show.

The Blood Orange takeover didn’t stop there. Hynes is also the mastermind behind Sky Ferreira’s single "Everything is Embarassing," which was recently named "Song Of The Year" in the culture issue of New York Magazine. "I wrote it at my piano only thinking about Sky singing it," Hynes reveals. "The song is about what I was imagining my girlfriend, who I was going through a break up with at the time, was thinking of me. I love Sky’s voice so I was definitely writing imagining her and only her singing it." The result? An infectiously melancholy ’80s-inspired pop ballad that’s the new anthem for the brokenhearted: "Maybe if you let me be your lover/Maybe if you tried then I would not bother." (Bonus: Watch Hynes performing the song himself at the Grimes show a few weeks ago here.)

Of all of the artist’s personal, professional, and recreational highlights this year, which also include attending a screening of Spike Lee’s Bad 25 documentary ("I didn’t think in 2012 it was possible for Michael Jackson to change my life again") and the Knicks’ knock-out opening run ("It’s crazy!"), Hynes considers his work on Solange Knowles’ new 7-track EP, True, his finest accomplishment. "Finishing the Solange record felt great," says Hynes of Beyoncé’s little sister’s hypnotic third record. "We’re both people that have a hard time knowing when something is finished because we could tweak it away forever. But realizing that it was done, and how happy we felt about it, was a great feeling." Since its release on November 27, True has received tons of buzz for its funky first single, "Losing You," which Knowles and Hynes recently performed on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, complete with badass choreographed dance moves. (Yes, Hynes can dance, too.)

While Dev Hynes, Blood Orange, Lightspeed Champion, and whatever clever name he dreams up next will certainly continue to slay the music game through 2013 and beyond, I can’t help but wonder what the multi-talented dude would have done if he didn’t have this gift. "I always wanted to be a biographer when I was younger," he says. "But in reality, I’d either be playing football [Ed note: or "soccer" for the Americans folks] still, or tennis." Yes, tennis. And although he’s worked with just about every established and emerging artist under the sun—who might he be interested in collaborating with next, either in real life or fantasy form? "It would have to be the late avant-garde dancer and choreographer Merce Cunningham." Of course. And if all this—the music, the fame, the fun, the recognition, the world—suddenly ends today, what does Hynes want to be remembered for? "A grand ol’ laugh!"

BlackBook Tracks #25: It’s Technically Not Even Winter Yet

This week, I am saving all of us the embarrassment of what could have been a list of “Eight Hottest Hanukkah Songs By Jewish Musicians.”

Concrete Knives – “Wallpaper”

Go on, get carried away by the sweet melodies of Concrete Knives. “Wallpaper” is the first single from the French band’s forthcoming album Be Your Own King.

Ra Ra Riot – “When I Dream”

Ra Ra Riot are preparing for the release of third album Beta Love, and “When I Dream” is the second track we’ve heard from it so far. Frontman Wes Miles’ voice sounds more heartbreaking than ever, fragile in all the right ways.

Heems x Sufjan Stevens – “The Child With the Star On His Head”

In addition to having recorded a Christmas EP for every state of the union (or something like that), Sufjan Stevens has continued to prove himself as the most festive person in America by releasing a hip-hop mixtape entitled Chopped & Scrooged. “The Child With the Star On His Head” was produced by John Dieterich of Deerhoof and features the vocal talents of Heems (ex-Das Racist).

Darwin Deez – “Free (The Editorial Me)”

Lovable weirdo Darwin Deez is back with his blend of jangly guitars and programmed beats. “Free (The Editorial Me)” provides a first glimpse at his forthcoming album Songs For Imaginative People.

Parks – “Sweater Weather”

It’s past actual sweater weather, definitely so if you’re in Boston, the city that newcomers Parks call home. Look back on faintly warmer days with some charming indie pop.

Avan Lava – “Tear It Down”

A little disco bombast never hurt anyone, and Avan Lava’s infectious energy can’t be beat. Remember, you deserve to have a good time.

Sky Ferreira – “Everything Is Embarrassing” (Unknown Mortal Orchestra remix)

If you can’t get enough of Sky Ferreira’s Blood Orange-produced track “Everything Is Embarrassing,” Unknown Mortal Orchestra made a version that is nearly seven minutes long. That’s quite a bit of extra time to think about how the song’s title may or may not be your 2012 life motto.

FaltyDL ft. Ed MacFarlane – “She Sleeps”

Get your Friendly Fires fix as Ed MacFarlane lends muted vocals to producer FaltyDL’s insistent track “She Sleeps.”
 

Follow Katie Chow on Twitter.

Sky Ferreira’s New EP Offers Curious Salad Of Styles

Sky Ferreira, who only just turned twenty a few months ago, in the name of all that is holy, has been enjoying a swift and powerful ascendance into that stratosphere of radio-friendly music known for its slick catchiness. In some respects, though, she already seems to have tired of the electro-pop mantle she’s poised to grab from Madonna, Britney, Gwen and even—dare I say it—Robyn.

Ferreira’s Ghost EP does collect some excellent synth-heavy songs that surfaced earlier this year, including the icy, anthemic stomper “Lost In My Bedroom” and “Red Lips,” a sneering throwback to Garbage that turns out, on further inspection, to indeed be written by Shirley Manson of that band (whose latest wasn’t half-bad, either!). But the other three entries strive to be something a bit less formula-driven. Second single and eventual short story title “Everything Is Embarrassing” closes out the set with closing-time piano and dry, hollow drums, while title track “Ghost” is a muddled folk number. Leadoff hitter “Sad Dream” is acoustic as well, but more successful and of a completely different mood: intimate yet rollicking twee.

Ferreira has songwriting credits on all but the Manson effort, confirming her stated intention to move away from electronics to a more “Blondie-inspired” sound. Which is fine by me: with just a handful of songs under her belt, she’s proved an adequate successor to any number of Top 40 divas. I can’t wait until she does Springsteen.

Follow Miles Klee on Twitter.

Almost Famous Person Sky Ferreira Calls Famous People a Drag

People started making a big deal of Sky Ferreira’s age after Katy Perry posted a picture of her on Twitter. And not because Perry was tweeting about a 17-year-old girl most people hadn’t yet heard about, but because that 17-year-old girl was holding a bottle of Vodka between her legs, which were spread wide open. “I found it really funny, but my mom and PR, not so much,” says Ferreira as she looks back on the incident that, let’s face it, helped forward her career. Now, much is being made of the her beyond-her-years aura. She’s not much older than Justin Bieber, but magazines like Nylon, Dazed and Interview are pouncing on the Los Angeles native, transforming her into the new darling of art and fashion circles. Like most things these days, it all began online for Ferreira. A song posted on her MySpace page made people take notice, including the Swedish production gods Bloodshy & Avant. The duo behind Britney Spears’ “Toxic” began mentoring Ferreira, and produced “One,” the first single off her debut album out later this year. Here she is on her influences, being BFFS with Katy Perry, and why famous people are a drag

You recently moved from L.A. to NY. Why the move and where have you been spending your time? I needed a change. People my age move away to go to college, so I decided to move somewhere else and learn to be on my own. I’ve been working so much, I still can’t really give you a place. But I did find some pretty good clothing for my live show at The Reformation.

There’s a lot of people talking about your age and your getting into clubs with famous friends. I’m really not all that wild. Maybe on occasions. And when I go out it’s mostly just to see people I don’t get to see during the day because of this insane rehearsal schedule. It’s awkward how people get fascinated by the “who knows who” thing or whatever. I just like to be nice to everyone. P.S., famous people are a drag. They have to be careful of everything they do. Yawn.

Was the song “17” a response to the fascination about your age? It was a bit of an inside joke about me being 15 when I wrote it.

The Twitterverse went crazy when Katy Perry posted a racy picture of you and a bottle of vodka. How did you react? I found it really funny, but my mom and PR, not so much. I’d much rather avoid being part of the tabloid circuit in the future.

Speaking of Katy Perry, has she ever given you a great piece of career advice? We both do the same profession and it’s really nice having a friend on the same record label that can give me advice. At the moment, though, I just like to hang out with her and not really talk about work stuff. I’ll let everyone else bug her about that shit.

You mentioned to me once that you loved The Runaways. How do you relate to their story, and what did you think of the movie? I’ve loved the Runaways since I was 13. I was obsessed. I watched and learned and read everything about each member and Kim Fowley, who I almost worked with. At first I was pissed about them making Neon Angels a movie because I’m a selfish person. In my mind they were mine. Even though I was born about 30 years later. I’m glad they got the attention they deserved. I related to them as young women in the music industry and how people manipulate and take advantage of you because you are young and a girl.

Who else would you consider your major music influences? It seems like you avoided the Britneys and Christinas. I listen to tons of Madonna, Britney, Christina! I used to go through all my dad’s CDs. He was a big Elton John fan, so I learned all of his songs when I was like 9. Then I learned how to play them on the keyboard. I’d sit there playing for like hours till I learned “Candle In the Wind.” Then at 13, which was the same time I discovered The Runaways, I got obsessed with “Life on Mars?” But not The Ziggy Stardust Era! Don’t get me wrong, I love it. But you know how people love to drop that one interview? I don’t want to be another corny pop girl doing that shit. Anyway, it was the first time a song could make me cry. I used to think listening to it before I went to sleep would make me write a song just as great. It later became a habit that I still do until this day, except when I’m at someone’s house. That would just be weird if I started crying to David Bowie in the corner.

Do you consider yourself a rebel in a world dominated by Miley Cyrus? Not really. I’m just not quite sure what world I’m really in yet. I don’t feel like a pop princess, but I don’t feel quite “edgy indie band” either.

Tell me about your first official single, “One.” How did you get involved with Bloodshy & Avant [producers who have worked with Kylie Minogue, Madonna, Britney Spears]? I wrote some of the lyrics to “One” about two and a half years ago. I got to Sweden and they played me the track. Marit Bergman and I wrote the whole song within thirty minutes. It just came out naturally. It’s about being numb and wanting to feel love, happiness, sadness—anything, really. It’s kind of like the Tin Man wanting a heart. I wrote Bloodshy & Avant a letter right before my 15th birthday and told them to sign me. Then they did, kind of right off the bat

Who are you listening to right now? Shining Twins, Primary 1, and my favorite people, The Virgins.

What can we expect from the new album? This one is a dance record. I want to get all of the stupid fun shit out of the way while I’m young and it’s appropriate, so I don’t end up wanting to do it when I’m 40 and wearing a leather leotard with my ass hanging out.

Tell me about your songwriting process. What are you singing about? Observations I make of people. And I’m a big fan of numbers in case you haven’t noticed.

You filmed the “17” video with Cass Bird. How involved are you with the music videos and what can we expect from the “One” video? I like working with photographers for videos. “17” was done raw. It was dark, natural, and filmed beautifully. I wanted to base it off Christiane F, minus the heroin. I gave Cass a whole bunch of photos. I think it came out really well considering we started out with no budget, and EMI didn’t want to pay for it or even have it come out. Now it’s on MTV without the help of my label! Word! I had no idea who was going to do “One.” They had me speak to Sophie Muller and I love her work, but it didn’t seem right for this video. I based it off of young Jerry Hall and Brooke Shields, “Life On Mars?,” and, editing-wise, Marilyn Manson’s “The Dope Show,” and wanted it really clean-cut, something that wasn’t expected from me. I was shooting my album cover and my stylist was someone I met on a Rankin shoot. He spoke to Rankin about the song and then Rankin wanted to do the video. A week later we shot it in L.A. We make a good team.

Your career is about to launch. What do you want the world to know about Sky Ferreira? I’ll let the world discover it themselves. Can’t say. I don’t want to curse it.

Photo by Lisa Boyle.

Almost Famous Person Sky Ferreira Calls Famous People a Drag

By Alex Catarinella , June 29, 2010

People started making a big deal of Sky Ferreira’s age after Katy Perry posted a picture of her on Twitter. And not because Perry was tweeting about a 17-year-old girl most people hadn’t yet heard about, but because that 17-year-old girl was holding a bottle of Vodka between her legs, which were spread wide open. “I found it really funny, but my mom and PR, not so much,” says Ferreira as she looks back on the incident that, let’s face it, helped forward her career. Now, much is being made of the her beyond-her-years aura. She’s not much older than Justin Bieber, but magazines likeNylonDazed and Interview are pouncing on the Los Angeles native, transforming her into the new darling of art and fashion circles. Like most things these days, it all began online for Ferreira. A song posted on her MySpace page made people take notice, including the Swedish production gods Bloodshy & Avant. The duo behind Britney Spears’ “Toxic” began mentoring Ferreira, and produced “One,” the first single off her debut album out later this year. Here she is on her influences, being BFFS with Katy Perry, and why famous people are a drag

You recently moved from L.A. to NY. Why the move and where have you been spending your time? I needed a change. People my age move away to go to college, so I decided to move somewhere else and learn to be on my own. I’ve been working so much, I still can’t really give you a place. But I did find some pretty good clothing for my live show atThe Reformation.

There’s a lot of people talking about your age and your getting into clubs with famous friends. I’m really not all that wild. Maybe on occasions. And when I go out it’s mostly just to see people I don’t get to see during the day because of this insane rehearsal schedule. It’s awkward how people get fascinated by the “who knows who” thing or whatever. I just like to be nice to everyone. P.S., famous people are a drag. They have to be careful of everything they do. Yawn.

Was the song “17” a response to the fascination about your age? It was a bit of an inside joke about me being 15 when I wrote it.

The Twitterverse went crazy when Katy Perry posted a racy picture of you and a bottle of vodka. How did you react? I found it really funny, but my mom and PR, not so much. I’d much rather avoid being part of the tabloid circuit in the future.

Speaking of Katy Perry, has she ever given you a great piece of career advice? We both do the same profession and it’s really nice having a friend on the same record label that can give me advice. At the moment, though, I just like to hang out with her and not really talk about work stuff. I’ll let everyone else bug her about that shit.

You mentioned to me once that you loved The Runaways. How do you relate to their story, and what did you think of the movie? I’ve loved the Runaways since I was 13. I was obsessed. I watched and learned and read everything about each member and Kim Fowley, who I almost worked with. At first I was pissed about them making Neon Angels a movie because I’m a selfish person. In my mind they were mine. Even though I was born about 30 years later. I’m glad they got the attention they deserved. I related to them as young women in the music industry and how people manipulate and take advantage of you because you are young and a girl.

Who else would you consider your major music influences? It seems like you avoided the Britneys and Christinas.I listen to tons of Madonna, Britney, Christina! I used to go through all my dad’s CDs. He was a big Elton John fan, so I learned all of his songs when I was like 9. Then I learned how to play them on the keyboard. I’d sit there playing for like hours till I learned “Candle In the Wind.” Then at 13, which was the same time I discovered The Runaways, I got obsessed with “Life on Mars?” But not The Ziggy Stardust Era! Don’t get me wrong, I love it. But you know how people love to drop that one interview? I don’t want to be another corny pop girl doing that shit. Anyway, it was the first time a song could make me cry. I used to think listening to it before I went to sleep would make me write a song just as great. It later became a habit that I still do until this day, except when I’m at someone’s house. That would just be weird if I started crying to David Bowie in the corner.

Do you consider yourself a rebel in a world dominated by Miley Cyrus? Not really. I’m just not quite sure what world I’m really in yet. I don’t feel like a pop princess, but I don’t feel quite “edgy indie band” either.

Tell me about your first official single, “One.” How did you get involved with Bloodshy & Avant [producers who have worked with Kylie Minogue, Madonna, Britney Spears]? I wrote some of the lyrics to “One” about two and a half years ago. I got to Sweden and they played me the track. Marit Bergman and I wrote the whole song within thirty minutes. It just came out naturally. It’s about being numb and wanting to feel love, happiness, sadness—anything, really. It’s kind of like the Tin Man wanting a heart. I wrote Bloodshy & Avant a letter right before my 15th birthday and told them to sign me. Then they did, kind of right off the bat

Who are you listening to right now? Shining Twins, Primary 1, and my favorite people, The Virgins.

What can we expect from the new album? This one is a dance record. I want to get all of the stupid fun shit out of the way while I’m young and it’s appropriate, so I don’t end up wanting to do it when I’m 40 and wearing a leather leotard with my ass hanging out.

Tell me about your songwriting process. What are you singing about? Observations I make of people. And I’m a big fan of numbers in case you haven’t noticed.

You filmed the “17” video with Cass Bird. How involved are you with the music videos and what can we expect from the “One” video? I like working with photographers for videos. “17” was done raw. It was dark, natural, and filmed beautifully. I wanted to base it off Christiane F, minus the heroin. I gave Cass a whole bunch of photos. I think it came out really well considering we started out with no budget, and EMI didn’t want to pay for it or even have it come out. Now it’s on MTV without the help of my label! Word! I had no idea who was going to do “One.” They had me speak to Sophie Muller and I love her work, but it didn’t seem right for this video. I based it off of young Jerry Hall and Brooke Shields, “Life On Mars?,” and, editing-wise, Marilyn Manson’s “The Dope Show,” and wanted it really clean-cut, something that wasn’t expected from me. I was shooting my album cover and my stylist was someone I met on a Rankin shoot. He spoke to Rankin about the song and then Rankin wanted to do the video. A week later we shot it in L.A. We make a good team.

Your career is about to launch. What do you want the world to know about Sky Ferreira? I’ll let the world discover it themselves. Can’t say. I don’t want to curse it.

Photo by Lisa Boyle.