The best looks for the night captured by American photographer Douglas Harrison Neill III—from sparkling Alessandra Ambrosia to party birds from all over the globe. Get inspired and celebrate in style. And here are thoughts of our photographer and Purple contributor Doug on “THE NIGHT”!
Describe the perfect night out.
Warm summer nights are my favorite time of year to go out. Things usually start with an intimate dinner with family and close friends, exchanging ideas, stories and laughs. Having your Significant Other with you is ideal. From there, a glass of wine, meet with others who are out and about—in the city, there’s always somewhere to go. Dancing, smiles, and celebrating the compound blessings in life. The DJ plays songs I haven't heard in ages and brings back memories of innocence and wonder. Maybe start a dance-off, who knows! Depending on the hour, I like to retire to a cup of coffee at a local diner and enjoy chatting. It's really all about the company I'm in—my close friends mean the world to me. Otherwise, return home, take a long warm shower, get lost in my thoughts and dream… I just remembered a recent night I spent with my friend Ashley watching shooting stars from the beach—it can as simple as spending time with someone that's right in front of you and making the most of it.
Your favorite spots in Los Angeles and New York?
LA: Chateau Marmont, Abbot Kinney, Varnish, The Nice Guy
NYC: Paul's Baby Grand, Surf Lodge, Dear Irving, McCarren Pool
Who is the incarnation of a night bird for you?
Jacqui Getty, Andre Saraiva, Derek Blasberg, Myles Hendrik…anyone cultured, chivalrous, and charming.
Best party you can remember?
L.A. amfAR at Milk Studios was well produced: Chelsea Handler hosted and one of my all-time favorites, Grace Jones, performed. The night consisted of dinner, performance and a live auction that raised $3.5 million for AIDS research. Rassi and Milk know how to produce some of the best functions around.
When did you start shooting for Purple magazine?
A little over three years ago I began contributing to Purple.fr. Founder Olivier Zahm is a passionate, kind soul who has been a cultural innovator for some time and believes in everyone he works with. The whole team—Caroline, Annabel, Juliana—are hardworking, driven individuals with whom I'm honored to interact.
How do you capture the night?
Anticipation is key; knowing what gets a certain type of reaction; the moods people are in; energy that's in the air; and being ready for anything. Once in a while, I'll ask a friend to sit or change posture, but a comfortable and relaxed subject enables me to capture something truly special. I often keep an eye out for things that stand out, like funky hair, clothes, accessories, body language, and if I spot someone that has allure whom I don’t know, I politely ask if I can take their photograph at the appropriate time. Never intrude on a conversation—courtesy is a priority in my work and in life.
Which looks will never go out of fashion?
Confidence, humility and a focused drive will always be in vogue. The 'high-end rock' look will be around for a while—Hedi Slimane is doing a phenomenal job with that. On women, a little black dress and heels can work anywhere and be elegant—it’s fun and leaves room for accessories. Be secure with your body, don't be afraid to show a little shoulder, and drink lots of water.
What’s so fascinating about nights?
Our minds are at ease after sunset: a new day is coming, and that’s something to be excited about. Going out, you never know who you may run into, so definitely spontaneity. There is possibility and energy you can tune into—creative hubs emerge all the time, like Studio 54, Roxy in London, Paradise Garage, CBGB—where people meet, exchange ideas and develop relationships. I'm excited that Los Angeles is getting a huge amount of attention from the art and fashion worlds lately—there’s a lot to be excited about.
Songs that make you dance?
T. Rex: ‘20th Century Boy’
George Benson: ‘Give Me The Night’
Mystic Braves: ‘Bright Blue Day Haze’ (Saint Laurent Edit)
A lot from Gino Soccio, Patrick Cowley and Munich Machine.
Who were you thrilled to meet and photograph?
Vidal Sassoon. I was fortunate enough to cross paths with him at a MOCA dinner honoring his muse, Peggy Moffitt, before his passing. Rosita Missoni also comes to mind: her drive and attention to detail in every aspect of her brand is second to none.
Interview by Katharina Kowalewski for Swarovski.
All images by Douglas Neill.
I first met Chloe a few years back at Billabong's Design for Humanity at Paramount Studios. We were both working and introduced though a mutual friend. Her joy is infectious and refreshing. She was blond that day but had plans of changing that and making a statement, out of frustration of the mold she and most models are often placed in.
"I love having coloured hair," the 23-year-old American model often states. "It's like having a painting on my head, one that I get to walk around with instead of hanging on a wall."
Chloe first dabbled with dye in first grade when she spray-painted her hair blue. Now the natural brunette has built a modelling career on the back of her obsession with bleach, signed to Premier Model Management. This season she's the face of United Colors of Benetton, which she's happy to front because the Italian brand is "all about colours, of course"; in the past she's modelled for Miss Vogue , i-D magazine and Harpers Bazaar - the latter comprising the obligatory 'next big thing' shoot with a photographer your all too familiar with.
The hair's not just for show, though - Chloe is a proper hippie with eleven tattoos to prove it. "I was 16 when I got my first tattoo," she mentioned. "It's on the bottom of my lip. It says 'Penny Lane' which was my nickname in high school for a while" ..and some of the others: a lightening bolt on her finger ("that hurt pretty bad"); 'I am I am I am' written on her ribs in different symbols and hieroglyphics; five hearts on her pinkie; 'Boom' on the inside of her hand ("my favourite word"); 'Pure powerful spontaneous and rare' printed on the back of her neck and a little key behind her ear (her mum has a matching one).
Chloe's bohemian approach to life finds its roots in her upbringing. Her Danish father works for the company "that makes those Danish butter cookies that come in a blue tin" and her mother is a toy trend specialist. "Every time I see my mom she has tons of toys and we just play with them," she says. Was she a troublesome teenager? "Oh absolutely," she laughs. "When I was in high school I was super crazy. I feel bad for my parents. I wonder if karma is going to hit me with an awful child!"
She found an escape in music, and her sartorial development runs in tandem with the music she listens to. "When I went through a tomboy phase, I listened to hip hop," she recalls. "then I was super preppy; then I listened to classic rock, '90s rap….all kinds of music."
She spent three months in Toyko DJ-ing and modelling when she was nineteen, making her a natural choice for Benetton's new campaign profiling up-and-coming fashion and music talents. Other autumn/winter 2013 faces include singer Sky Ferreira; rapper Theophilus London; model (and daughter of Kristen) Lily McMenamy; model (and son of The Clash bassist Paul) Louis Simonon, and South Korean model Soo Joo Park.
She loves clothes, but doesn't have much time to shop. "Usually I'll run into a vintage store and find a couple of pieces. I find malls overwhelming."
Life after modelling doesn't faze her - "I'll be happy as long as I can keep travelling" - and there's always another tattoo to plan. "Have you read The Little Prince? I want to get the picture of the boa constrictor eating an elephant on my finger."
Styled by Andrea Messier Cuomo
All images by Douglas Neill
At 79, the matriarch of the Missoni clan, Rosita Missoni, is a force to be reckoned with.
Though she stepped down in 1997 as head of the iconic knitwear line that she started with her husband Ottavio (Tai) over half a century ago, placing her daughter Angela at the helm, she couldn't stay idle for long.
In 2004, she launched the Missoni Home collection, and in 2009 she oversaw the opening of the first Hotel Missoni, in Edinburgh. A second property, in Kuwait, opens in March, and she has three more luxury boutique hotels—in Oman, Brazil and Turkey—in the works.
Ms. Missoni is responsible for designing the interiors of each, outfitted with furniture by Eero Saarinen, Marcel Wanders and Arne Jacobsen, and featuring the line's dizzying zig-zags, stripes and flowers throughout, mostly done in black and white but with bursts of bright pinks, teals and purples.
"I cannot stay away from color!" she said. After all these years, her eye is as meticulous as ever (for a Missoni fashion show in 1967, she famously removed the models' bras because she felt they clashed with the color of the dresses), and she's still willing to do anything in the name of good design.
In Edinburgh, for example, the doormen sport Missoni-print kilts. Here, Ms. Missoni offers her perspective on everything from the perfect lightweight chair to her favorite smell.
I realized I had a knack for interior
design when I was a child. My favorite game was to create a house or living room in the heath forest of my village, Golasecca.
I would never have a decorator do my house, though I have many friends who are decorators, whom I respect. I think people little by little should find their own way, then ask a decorator for help, but not give your project to somebody who doesn't know how you live, what your habits are. A house must have the personality of the people who live in it.
If you're going to invest in one big piece for the home, it should be an extremely comfortable, well-designed couch; a huge mirror; or a funny-shaped, colorful rug to light up a forgotten corner.
In a hotel, I want to be surrounded by nice and comfortable things. For instance, in my hotels, I wanted to have very comfortable dining chairs that are easy to move. I hate when you are stuck in your chair. So I chose the same chairs I have in my homes, Hans Wegner's Wishbone Chair. In my main home, right outside of Milan, I have cherry wood, and in Sardinia we have oak. They last forever. My grandchildren—they are giants—like to stretch their legs out on the chairs, and they haven't been able to break them after 15 years!
The most wonderful house is La Maison Picassiette in Chartres, which was done entirely by this crazy man who decorated every surface with small fragments of ceramic tiles. It's very full of patterns. I took my granddaughter Margherita there when she was 14.
On the same day, I took her to visit Villa Savoye by Le Corbusier—a very modern house, with big windows, lots of light—so she could see the opposite sort of house. These are the two spectrums of my taste.
My favorite smell is a kind of bush called Cestrum nocturnum. It grows tiny insignificant flowers, but they open at sunset and smell all the night. It's incense and honey mixed—it's fantastic.
Right now I'm inspired by an outsider art museum that just opened in London called the Museum of Everything. It's run by Peter Blake and James Brett. It's a place that I like to get lost in.
My favorite store in the world is Rossana Orlandi in Milan. It's a fascinating space in an old building of an abandoned factory. It sells arts and crafts and fashion and hosts the best Milanese parties.
My guilty pleasures are crossword puzzles, wine and food.
As a housewarming gift, I bring a basket of fresh eggs from my chicken house with herbs and flowers from my garden.
The most treasured item in my home is a coffee table painted by my granddaughters, Margherita and Jennifer, when they were 12 and 10. I had seen a nice table in Paris and had our carpenter recreate it in plywood.
My granddaughters asked to paint it—we always have paint around the house. Their little brothers were allowed to paint the underside. One day my son Luca came over and goes, "God, this is a work of art!" So he took it away, and had someone put some surface on top of it, and it became the most special object in the house.
Edited Interview by Alexis Swerdloff
Missoni family portrait by Douglas Neill for Purple Magazine.
The Swintons are a distinguished old Scottish family. I heard that you guys have been living in the same home for over 1,000 years.
We don’t live in a cave, but yes, the family has lived there since 876, though the bricks and mortar have dwindled and perished and been rebuilt since then. This particular house was built around 1830. It’s a gray stone Scottish baronial house, and it’s got little turrets. It’s hideous, if you must know. Absolutely hideous. I say that with love.
Didn’t you plot to murder your infant brother in that house?
Yes, there was a bungled attempt to kill my brother when I was 4½. I assume it happens all the time. It was to do with the fact that I wanted a sister, and I had a third brother, and at 4½, that really felt like the sky was falling in. I just went in and looked at him. I don’t think I had anything particular planned.
But you walked into the nursery and discovered that he was already choking on something.
Yeah, and I then immediately started to pull this ribbon out of his mouth and was hailed as his savior. It was a good call.
It seems as if most articles use the word “androgynous” to describe you, because you’ve been able to go back and forth between sexes in your work. Were you a tomboy growing up?
I was everything. I wasn’t only interested in one thing. I wore boys’ clothes just as much as I wore girls’ clothes, but that didn’t mean I only wore boys’ clothes. There’s only so much you can do when you look the way I do.
I read that you donned a prosthesis for your one-woman show “Man to Man,” in which you played both husband and wife.
Actually it was a balled pair of socks, but the idea of it morphing in legend into a penis prosthetic is fantastic, and we should leave it right there.
In your film, “We Need To Talk About Kevin,” we watch you raise a future mass murderer. It’s an amazing piece of birth control.
It’s a fantasy that has as much to do with the practical business of bringing up a child as “Rosemary’s Baby” has to do with being pregnant. Still, there’s always going to be a moment in a pregnancy when you wonder whether the devil was involved.
Was there a point when you hated your twins?
No, because I lucked out in the chemical-reaction department, but I know people who have and who can never talk about it with anybody. I have witnessed the unsayable shame of feeling that they are not in love with their babies. No amount of other people saying, “She’s adorable,” is going to make it any better.
You once admitted that you enjoy leaving your kids to travel for work. That’s unusual to hear.
Absolutely. When mothers say that they really can’t bear to be away from their children, what they’re really doing is protesting a little too much, and what they would really love to have is a night in a hotel room lying diagonally across the bed and eating all sorts of food.
A few years ago, the tabloids suggested that you were enjoying a very exotic sex life, having the father of your children, John Byrne, at home and traveling the world with Sandro Kopp, your younger lover.
The ménage à trois. Apparently people are supposed to deem themselves famous enough to hold a press conference and tell the world about their relationships. We made the terrible error of not doing that, and so natural transitions in our family got missed.
So this odd arrangement never existed, with your older partner happily carrying the bags of the young lover into the family home?
No. John lives with his girlfriend in Edinburgh and has for like five years. He happened to pick us up from the airport, because he had been looking after the kids while we were in London. There’s no drama. The most transgressive thing that we have done is not be acrimonious.
People were hoping for more, you know: switching bedrooms depending on the day, that kind of thing.
Isn’t there a big television show in America like that? “Big Love”? I’m too dull for Mormonism, but everyone is welcome to have whatever fantasies they like.
Interview by Andrew Goldman.
Portrait by Douglas Neill.
Red River, keep on rolling down
It's been a long time since I let my hair hang down
I'll take my time before I go under the ground
Oh dandelion, tell me what you're thinking now
Shape I'm in, I better get back home soon
I got one eye on the road and one eye on the big black moon
Dandelion, won't you tell me what to do
Ironsides rusting in the railroad rain
Now I found out what the Captain of the Morning was saying
Dandelion, better hope your mother's praying
Dumb luck is only the luck I ever knew
I'd make a wish but I don't think it'd ever come true
Dandelion, I guess I'll leave it up to you
Belle Starr, she doesn't have any shoes
She walks crooked and paints her eyelids blue
Dandelion, I wanna go there too
Words by Charlotte Gainsbourg.
Images by Douglas Neill for OC Weekly/Village Voice Media.
Dave 1 (pictured; one-half of Chromeo) lends advice on meeting women:
Where is the best place to meet a woman?
Whole Foods. You know they’re probably health-conscious, environmentally friendly, and not broke if they can afford Whole Foods. They want their açaí berry and their papaya scrub, but they can also pay for dinner. And everyone is in a bad mood at Whole Foods. The lines are crazy, the food court’s a mess, the bathrooms are not always clean…. If you can actually get someone to talk to you there, that means you’ve got game. Finding a mutual thing to complain about is a great first step. Like, “Do you know where the papaya is? I don’t think there’s any left! What the hell!” Or “Can you believe it? I got the last flaxseeds! Isn’t flaxseed amazing? I love it. I know this amazing place. We should go next time.”
Now that you’ve nabbed her, how do you ace the first date?
Get your 19th-century dandy on. Impeccable manners. Sophistication without snobbery. There’s nothing wrong with being like that forever, but you also have to know when to switch it up. You set yourself up so that down the line, when you have to do a number two in her apartment, she’ll be like, “Phew! He’s human!” and welcome it with open arms.
Interview by Claire Lobenfeld
New Years Eve with Chromeo image by Douglas Neill for OC Weekly/Village Voice Media.
The fight against AIDS slipped on a pair of heels and walked down to Milk Studios LA on Thursday to honor its most inspiring supporters during the amfAR Inspiration Gala. Chelsea Handler played host to a celeb-packed crowd that honored Aileen Getty, Goldie Hawn and theHugo Boss Group for their outstanding humanitarian efforts and tireless battle against AIDS.
More than 20 years ago, Aileen Getty revealed that she was HIV positive and diagnosed with AIDS. Instead of succumbing to fear, she has dedicated her life to combating the stigma surrounding AIDS and those who have it. One of her many projects includes the Dallas House, which offers shelter for women with AIDS.
Actress Goldie Hawn has been an instrumental force in amfAR’s ongoing efforts to raise funding for research into AIDS prevention, treatment and care. Recently she helped raise $600,000 in the inaugural Inspiration Gala in Rio de Janiero.
Though the night was reserved for an important cause, nothing could stop Handler from getting in a few digs at honored guests such as Kenneth Cole and Sharon Stone, who put her own spin on the night’s auction by offering to kiss bidders willing to up their giving. Then Grace Jones, the model/singer/best thing about A View To Kill, threw down a hula-hooped performance to close out the night with a stilettoed flourish.
Images by Douglas Neill for Milk Studios.
NATASHA LYONNE: I’m curious about your habitual nature — a routine that’s been the same since I met you decades ago and can’t foresee you ever changing deep into a Jetsons future. You always go to church on Ash Wednesday, you always take the subway, and you always go home for the holidays. (Sometimes you do all three of these activities on the same day!) How have these three things informed your understanding of people, your grasp on reality, and staying grounded and sane over the years?
CHLOË SEVIGNY: My parents found tradition and ritual very important, because they were both brought up that way and found comfort in it. They thought it was important for children to be kept on a schedule. So I was just raised in an environment where that’s what you did. There was no question about it. You went home for the holidays, you went to mass on Sunday — no ifs, ands, or buts. That was ingrained in me from a very young age, and I think that’s informed who I am in so many aspects of my life. I crave stability and a schedule and the security that comes along with it. That’s why I gravitate to people whose upbringing was similar. It makes me feel safe. It’s also made me a little obsessive-compulsive in a way. As for public transportation, I think part of the reason I take the subway is because I don’t like having someone else driving. It’s hard for me to be in a cab, because the traffic makes me feel insane. On the subway you’re getting there faster and it’s easier. I’m also frugal. It’s often cheaper to take the subway. And I’m an environmentalist, which my mother instilled in me, so I really believe in public transportation. And finally, I love the proximity to people in the subway. New York is so diverse, and yet you often end up in homogenized places with the same faces, going to the same restaurants. When you’re on the street or in the subway, you’re experiencing more of the diversity of New York.
RITA ACKERMANN: What was the most intense experience you’ve had with an artwork?
SEVIGNY: I don’t know if this is the most intense, but growing up I was very into art. In high school I was into the surrealists and impressionists, and I loved Klimt—you know, the typical things you’re into in junior high and high school. But I remember I was coming into Manhattan in ’91 or ’92, and I saw one of those Felix Gonzalez-Torres Untitled billboards. I was just really arrested by it. It was kind of my first foray into contemporary art. I remember pondering it and staring at it and being like, “What is this all about?” and being kind of flabbergasted. So I investigated and read about it and understood how to put it in context. It was a turning point for me as to what art could be and what it meant and the impact it could have.
WHIT STILLMAN: I see Chloë every day on set! Here is my question: “Could you say that again, but differently?” (Hope her response will be: “Yes.”)
SEVIGNY: “Of course I could say it again but differently. But why don’t you tell me how you want me to say it, and I’ll just repeat you.” Most actors do not appreciate line readings, but, Whit, when it comes to you, I’ll take one any day. Whit says, “Again, again, again.” That’s how he does it during filming. You’ll say a line, and he’ll be like, “Again.” It’s a pretty intense thing that he puts an actor through.
LIZZI BOUGATSOS: If you could sit down for dinner with three people from the past, present, or future, who would they be?
SEVIGNY: From the past, definitely my mother’s mother, who I never met—she passed away before I was born. She was something of an eccentric woman, quite bohemian. I would like to have known her. From the present, you, Lizzi, because you’re my favorite meal companion. And from the future, an offspring of mine, hopefully. Like, I’d love it to be my child, let’s say in her thirties.
LARRY CLARK: Have you had your heart broken recently?
SEVIGNY: Not recently. The last time I had my heart broken was about six years ago. I mean, really broken, like, I felt the pangs for years. I still have them. It still kind of creeps in here and there, especially when I sit and reflect on the boy, the lost love. I think it never really goes away fully. But the pain definitely subsides.
KIM GORDON: What’s the movie you want to make?
SEVIGNY: Well, Kim, you know that I’m interested in making a particular short movie. But I feel, with movies, it’s hard when you talk about things preemptively because people get excited about it, but the film industry is so fickle about financing, and it’s so difficult to get movies made. So I have to keep this idea on the down low early in the process, because so many things could happen and it could fall through. It’s kind of like a pregnancy through the first trimester. But there are a lot of movies I’d like to make, and plenty of books I’d like to adapt.
KIMBERLY PEIRCE: What situation have you put yourself in that changed you the most?
SEVIGNY: I guess it would be the decision to become an actress. I could say more specifically it was choosing to do Kids . They offered me the lead part two days before they started shooting. I was just going to do a smaller part, and then they asked me if I wanted to play the lead. I gave the script to my father to read — and it’s a pretty crazy part. I remember he read it on the beach in Connecticut, while I was sitting next to him. But it was okay because he knew Harmony. We were friends. After Kids, there began to be some interest. People were calling the production company asking how to find me because they wanted to offer me parts. This woman said she’d like to manage me; she was working for the producer at the time and wanted to become a manager. I thought, “How do I navigate this?” So that was really an opportunity to choose this career path, to make a conscious decision to pursue acting and put myself out on the line for all it entails. I was still working at Liquid Sky when Kids came out; I was still considering getting into fashion or God knows what else.
LISSY TRULLIE: Is there one statement that you’ve been quoted as saying that you wish you could take back?
SEVIGNY: I wish I could take back every interview. I’ve been to psychics and psychiatrists and have said, “There’s something that happens when I have to do an interview — I just lose confidence and my voice.” Over and over again, I read them later, and either I’m misquoted or I said something stupid. I’m just not very good at it. It’s never been to the point of a huge disaster. I’ve recovered. But I did have someone recently write to me and say they were hurt by something I said about them. I was saying something off the cuff and I think the humor was a little lost in print. I felt bad I had hurt someone’s feelings and had to write them back and kind of explain how the press works.
HUMBERTO LEON & CAROL LIM: If the grabbing hands grab all they can, what would be your large amounts?
SEVIGNY: That’s from “Everything Counts,” a Depeche Mode song about the record industry and corporate greed. I feel terrible about corporate greed. Growing up in a household that was a little more humble and didn’t put so much emphasis on money and material goods, I think I have a pretty good head on my shoulders. I’m not the greediest person. Of course, I work in a business where that’s all relative and there’s a lot of money to be made. I think I’m satisfied making as much as I have and I don’t feel particularly driven to have more. I feel like I don’t need that much. I realize I’m saying this from a nice apartment in Brooklyn. [laughs] But also, as far as corporate greed is concerned, I try to shop mostly at mom-and-pop stores and not support brands or corporations. Some are obviously unavoidable, but I try to do the little I can in my day-to-day life to make an impact.
JUERGEN TELLER: Dear Chloë, the last time I properly saw you was in 1995. Do you want to have a coffee with me?
SEVIGNY: Was it that long ago? Yes, I guess I’d have a coffee with you. I’ve always had a strange relationship with Juergen, in terms of his work.
RYAN MURPHY: If one wanted to be a style icon on the scale of Chloë Sevigny, what two rules would one need to know?
SEVIGNY: Two rules? Well, one is no rules, as they say. But I think to be a true style icon, you just have to dress yourself. There are so many actresses floating around who have people picking out their outfits for them; that’s hard for me to wrap my head around or celebrate. To be a true icon, you have to have style emanating from you. And you have to have figured it out on your own and have a point of view, a perspective, and be able to translate it in some personal way.
Images by Douglas Neill.
Seven Questions with Brian Calvin:
1. What is your connection to Los Angeles?
I exist just on the periphery of Los Angeles' gravitational pull.
2. Name a living painter that you admire.
Maureen Gallace, Charles Garabedian, Jane Freilicher, John Wesley, Jim Nutt, Tomma Abts.
3. Name a dead painter that you admire.
Many of my waking hours are spent contemplating painters who were dead before I was born: Giotto, Piero, Fra Angelico, Manet, Cezanne, Bonnard, Vuillard, Matisse, Balthus, Milton Avery, Marsden Hartley, Forrest Bess, Morandi. And what about Guston, Joe Brainard, Alice Neel, Fairfield Porter, de Kooning, Agnes Martin, Warhol, Christina Ramberg, Roger Brown, CPLY? But somehow "dead painter" makes me think of more recent deaths (Richard Artschwager, Raoul De Keyser). And yet, getting back to my initial response to the question, I particularly admire Albert York!
4. How much did you sell your first painting for?
5. Of the paintings you have made, which is your favorite?
That's a terrible question!
6. LACMA, MOCA, Getty, or Hammer?
7. Why make paintings?
I have no idea. Channeling David Foster Wallace, to keep my head from exploding.
Interview by T.S.
Brian Calvin studio visit images for Muse Magazine by Douglas Neill.
Chapel NYC Promotional Photographs by Douglas Neill
The public first heard inklings that you could sing back in 2006. What took you so long?
Lou: I’ve been surrounded by a family of women who sing very high, so I was convinced that to sing was to sing high. To me I had a man’s voice or a voice that didn’t really count. I was always singing in my house, but as soon as someone would come in, I would shut up. It was an American friend of mine, Chris Brennan, who was the first to say, “Come on, sing, sing, why don’t you sing?” I was like, “Why would I sing? It’s a weird question to ask.” Thank God life became so sullen and depressing that I didn’t have a choice. I was painting the pain and it wasn’t helping. I was writing the pain and it wasn’t helping. I was doing the diaries and it was just pages and pages, and I was becoming completely neurotic and it wasn’t enough. The guitar was there, because I’ve always lived with musicians. I’ve been a groupie for 30 years, so for me, they were the men with guitars. But I picked up the guitar, I asked to be shown two notes and suddenly, it came out and I thought, “This is genius, this is how I’m going to be able to survive!”
Did you then want your songs to be heard?
Lou: I never wanted them to be heard, they were just songs to make me calm down. My girlfriends would say, “Sing us that song about how your dog is better than your boyfriend.” And so I became this cheerleader for depressed girls. And then they asked me to record them so they could have the songs. My mum said, “Why don’t you do an album?” I would do it because of what? I’m the daughter of, I’m a sister of, I’m an “It girl.” I mean, whatever, I don’t even want to go there!
“It girl” is the worst!
Lou: The worst!
Do you feel like for the first time, having been an actress and a model and having to interpret other people’s art, that it’s a relief to be in control?
Lou: It’s lovely. I’ve done 24 movies that never worked; I did every campaign that didn’t work. You’re always in that thing where you work with a wonderful photographer, and it’s hit or miss, and my whole life was a hit or miss.
You really felt like that?
Lou: In a way. I’m full of other people’s projects and my mom was like, “Can you imagine that you spent 15 years doing what other people wanted you to do and it never works out and the first thing that you do for you is a success. That’s the most reassuring thing in the world.” And it’s true. Now in France, I’m a huge success for being me, and that’s divine!
Do you feel like now you can, not disassociate yourself from your family, but stand away from them and people’s preconceptions of you?
Lou: Yeah. I guess if I had a voice closer to my mum’s or Charlotte’s it would have been really complicated to start in the music industry. But what was fun was that they were muses, they were around guys who wrote songs for them and they sing like girls. I was lucky that I don’t sound anything like them and my music has nothing to do with them. I’ve spent so many years where everything in my character was a problem—I’ve got too much of a character, so you don’t get jobs because you’re not a blank canvas. Also, I always focus on personal things. I’m a great lover, so I’ve cancelled on movies because I’ve fallen in love, I’ve not shown up to meetings because I’ve fallen in love, and I’ve paid for that, very, very sourly and bitterly. With the music is that my life suddenly fits. I can go to sleep at 6 o’clock in the morning because I’m not demanded to work until 8 o’clock in the evening. I can fall in love for the rest of my life because I’ll write songs about it. I always fall in love with a**holes and now, thanks to them, I can write songs about them!
Do you ever wish that you weren’t attracted to musicians?
Lou: I’ve done the musician, the director; I haven’t done a photographer, thank God. I think it’s got to do with confidence and it’s got to do with your father, one way or another, and my father is a womanizer. You’ve got 50 guys in a room who are super into you, super kind, and you don’t even see them, and there’s one asshole who sits down with a sullen look and all of you just goes down.
I get why people are attracted to that, but personally I think I’ve only fallen for a real dickhead once.
Lou: It’s a little girl thing: I want that one who doesn’t want me. I’ll change that horrible man! I’ll make him a good man! Bulls**t! That never works! It happened again in September, I was in love with a stupid boy, who was actually quite kind, but a silly boy, and he left me the night before my first gig, which of course they do—before it’s your birthday, before it’s bloody Christmas, they know how to do it. And I was shattered. My producer called me up and said, “How are you?” And I was like, “He left me.” He very calmly said, “How many songs?” and I was like, “You a**hole. Three.” And then he said, “We like that man. They’re not a**holes, they’re your muses.” There you go, you’re just my muse, that’s all you are! When you’re not a victim anymore, everything tastes much nicer.
Do you worry that you need dysfunctional relationships as lyrical grist?
Lou: Ah, that’s the good question because, who knows? It’s very hard, I mean it’s the conversation that every girl has, and suddenly you meet the really kind guy, which has happened to me.
It’s happened to you now?
Lou: Yes and it’s super hard because it’s perfect and beautiful and it’s everything on the paper and you think, “Am I that f**ked up?” I don’t know, maybe I’m just a tiny, bit too young, I’m 30.” When I see my girlfriends—and I hope I’m wrong, but sadly I think I’m a bit right—90% of us go for the a**hole and 10% go for the good guy just because we’re fed up with the a**hole. So, is it better to settle down…
That phrase is awful.
Lou: Just to settle down with someone that’s good for them? I would rather love someone who’s an a**hole, but love him for real. It’s complicated.
Let’s talk about “Jealousy.” You really get into it.
Lou: It’s funny because, there was “Make A Sound” and “Jealousy.” My mum is obsessed with “Make A Sound,” which is, I wouldn’t say against her, but I’ve had a tough position in the sense that I’ve been 1 millimetre away from fame and money all my life, and I think I‘m a generous person, so I could deal with it for a long time. But suddenly it got to this point where to constantly see your mother doing something and everyone’s in awe, and your sister’s in a movie and she wins Best Actress in Cannes, and you get to this point where you think, you’re absolutely killing me, because I’m not living moments that are happy enough for me to be generous enough to give something back to you. There was this terrible thing where my mum was like, “You have to come to everyone’s premieres in my family," and my stepbrother is Yvan Attal, who is super successful and does movies, and my other stepbrother Cédric Klapisch, and everything he does is super successful, my sister Lola, it’s the same. It was just this mad thing where everything they touched turned to gold and everything I touched turned to rust and you think, “I don’t have a problem with you living a golden life, but it’s just too hard, it’s too close.” And so those two songs were songs to try to get it out. Like if I actually say it, I’ll be less of a bad person.
It is, hands down, the most destructive emotion.
Lou: Yes and jealousy makes you feel like shit. But if I get it out, maybe it will settle down a bit, which it has. It’s actually that same thing of thinking of, “You can’t change things, but you can change how you see them.” Which is the same as, “He’s not an a**hole, he’s your muse.” I’m super, super jealous with men. You have to calm down, because you fantasize that the guy is cheating on you and he’s not, and you’re going to break the relationship. Or he is cheating—which has happened to me—and it's not changing anything.
Is one of the cheaters on this record?
Lou: Yeah. We had been together for eight or nine months and I was crazy about him, and I learnt at the end of our relationship that he was knocking it off with two or three girls per day. And of course because I’m famous, every girl began to tell me. Girls in nightclubs would come up and say, “I’m so sorry, I’m so sorry.” Because they were famous girls too, a photographer would arrive and want picture of us both and I’m there putting my arm around them and I’d be like, “I think I might die at this point!” It’s just a f**ked up thing where girls towards girls are weird. You even want to tell the majority of guys, when you’re famous, women aren’t after you as a man; they’re after your boyfriend, that’s the whole bloody point. I told a boyfriend once, “Don’t you get it, when you go in a room, half the girls don’t look at you and as soon as I come in and kiss you, then all the girls are all over you.” Girls with girls are super strange about that.
So when you found out about all these girls, did you break up with him immediately?
Lou: Yeah and he had a wonderful sentence. I said, “Apparently you’re f**king a girl from Chanel, a girl of Dior, and a dancer.” And he said, in French, “En tout cas, personne de chez Chanel,” which means, “In any case, no one from Chanel.” I wrote it down and said, “One day I’m gonna look at this sentence and think it's the most exceptional sentence of all time.” And I do! It was four years ago and when I think of that sentence, I think, “You’re bonkers mate!”
Yes, bonkers is the word. Has he come back to you now that he’s heard the album?
Lou: No, I never ran into him again.
Well that’s a blessing. Okay, enough about boys. Change of subject. Do you think musicians should have a visual aesthetic which complements the music?
Lou: I’m happy and proud because I think I’m a fish swimming upstream. I was born in this industry, it’s like I’ve known the devil since I was born. I know everything that’s around it and all of the games between the movies and the fashion and all the women in my family. In a way, one of the reasons why my album has been so successful is I haven’t played any of those games. I go onstage without make-up, without my hair being done, and it’s bare. Everything is bare, every interview is bare and I like it that way.
What would you say is the one big lesson that your mom has taught you in life?
Lou: She’s taught me many big ones. My mother has never, ever been scared of anything. She was the first French person to arrive in Fukushima one week [after the nuclear disaster], she lived in Sarajevo during the war, I mean, she’s mad. She’s absolutely convinced nothing can happen to her. When I was a little girl my mother used to encourage me to speak to strangers. She used to abandon me in restaurants, she used to forget me in places—that’s why she made the Birkin Bag, she used to put me in the bag and then forget the bag and two hours later, and people would say, where’s the child? I’ve tried to raise my son the same way. I’m like, “Scared of what? The world is our home.” So I’ve never ever been scared and what goes with that is curiosity. My mum wants to know everything about everyone and it’s a lovely way of seeing the world.
Did her attitude affect your stance on having a kid at a relatively young age?
Lou: I had a kid when I was 19 and the father left and my mum was like, “Oh, its fine.” I had the baby and everything was fine. I didn’t have money, and I was going on movie sets without a nanny and my mum was like, “Well I didn’t have a nanny with you.” You just breastfeed, tell them to shut up, and they’ll get it. I never needed a ritual. I never had any. My mother would leave me to sleep wherever and Marlowe’s exactly the same. I’ve got my diary so he can always draw and we always travel light because we don’t need anything.
Did you ever find it a struggle to balance motherhood and a career and what you wanted to do?
Lou: Not at all, I guess the struggle is passion because passion is a dodgy one. When you’re very, very in love and very broken by someone, it’s the most dangerous thing because even your children don’t count anymore. That’s the scariest thing and I maybe women can relate to that. When you’re so down that you can’t even see them anymore. That’s the frightening thing. When I'm working I'm sad when he's not around.
Do you feel like an old soul?
Lou: Yes. I guess because my parents were crazy enough, because it was the 80s and they were kids who lived in the 70s, I’ve been like my parent’s parents since I was small. There weren’t rules or judgment—go to bed whenever you want and I would bring my mum back home when she was wasted. My mum is super fun and my family is great and we play catch and tickle. It’s this weird thing where we’re all children and at the same time, no one has a childhood and I love that.
Your family is pretty sprawling.
Lou: My mum’s been in love all her life and had a child with every man she loved and my father had one kid with the majority of girls he met. I have a little sister who’s not even two and my oldest sister is 49. People don’t understand, when you see us all. They think the youngest are my kids and my son is my brother, it’s a messed up thing and I love it.
How did you deal with the father of your son leaving?
Lou: I’m absolutely devoid of judgment and the same when the father of my son left. He was a good guy, but he was a crazy musician. Sometimes he would get wasted when he had my son and stuff and my American girlfriends would be like, “Sue him and he’s your son!” and I’d be like, “But why?” Technically he’s our child. I don’t see how I could be a cop. I don’t have any rights over the father. It’s this strange world where people are obsessed with judgment. You turn on the TV and you judge the best cook, the best look, the best, I don’t know what, best singer, best bulls**t. All the people I love wouldn’t even pass the first round. And if you judge for eight hours a day, then you start judging yourself and then you start feeling disappointed in yourself. Once again, this cycle of projection and disappointment, but that’s how the industry makes its money. The whole point is to make you feel insecure so that you buy lipstick to feel pretty, you buy a dress, you buy a car, you buy a house. We only live once and we shouldn’t justify it to anyone.
Do you still play rock music and dance around when you wake up in the morning?
Lou: Yeah, it’s our ritual. It’s my son who picks really funny music. We get into massive musical arguments.
What's he into?
Lou: Lately, he’s been really into Europe and “Final Countdown.” I have to wake up to that and I throw him all the stuff in the house and I’m like “F**k you,” and he just comes in my room singing it. I love it. [Laughs]
Interview by Kim Taylor Bennett
Lou Doillon image by Douglas Neill for Purple Magazine.
The greatest thing my father left me was a love for cutting wood, my love for sawing, especially pine wood.
The most delicious food is far and away super-crisp, almost snapping-crisp bacon with two scrambled eggs, toasted hash browns, white toast with butter and jam, and coffee.
I have a coffee brand. But I'm not a businessman and I think my line of coffee will die the death this year. It's very hard to make a profit.
I have deep love for my Swatch watch.
I can't live without coffee, transcendental meditation, American Spirit cigarettes, a freedom to create ideas that flow and my sweet wife, Emily. And this business of just being able to work and think: It's really, really beautiful.
You don't need a special place to meditate. You can transcend anywhere in the world. The unified field is here, and there, and everywhere. Maybe if you sat on a bed of nails to do it…no, not so much comfort. Find a comfy chair, though, close your eyes and away you go!
I don't paint the town red. But when I do go out, people always want to touch my hair. It happens every time.
I first started buttoning my shirt [all the way to the top] because, for some reason, my collarbone is very sensitive. And I don't like to feel wind on my collarbone.
The best cities of all are Los Angeles and Paris. They're where I feel most comfortable.
I used to deliver The Wall Street Journal in Los Angeles. I did it to support myself while making "Eraserhead." I'd pick up my papers at 11:30 at night. I had throws that were particularly fantastic. There was one where I'd release the paper, which would soar with the speed of the car and slam into the front door of this building, triggering its lobby lights—a fantastic experience. Another one I called "The Big Whale." There was a place, the Fish Shanty, on La Cienega. A big whale's mouth was the front door you entered through. I'd throw a block before it, and hit the paper directly into the mouth.
One designer I love is [the late] Raymond Loewy. He redesigned the Coca-Cola bottle that stuck, designed the 1963 Avanti Studebaker…and his locomotives were incredibly beautiful.
I am currently working on some paintings and music. I am also trying to catch ideas for my next feature film. But I haven't caught the right ones yet.
My advice to finger-painters would be to go with your intuition: it's action and reaction. I paint with my fingers quite a bit. A brush will do a certain thing…but your finger will do a different thing.
I recently collected a toy telephone. It's from the 1940s and made of metal.
People say my films are dark. But like lightness, darkness stems from a reflection of the world. The thing is, I get these ideas that I truly fall in love with. And a good movie idea is often like a girl you're in love with, but you know she's not the kind of girl you bring home to your parents, because they sometimes hold some dark and troubling things.
Interview by Steve Garbarino
David Lynch Presents Chrysta Bell images by Douglas Neill for Mode-Moderne Journal.
Favorite food: Tied between Sushi and Indian!
Hobbies: Painting, long distance running, volleyball, horseback riding
Favorite traveling destination: I dream to one day go back to italy so I can explore more of Europe
Favorite Movie or Television Show: Favorite tv show – Game of Thrones
Who is your Role model: My role model is my father because he has taught me not only to follow all of my dreams, but never to change for anyone just to make people happy.
Favorite Designer: Ella Moss because I LOVE EVERYTHING she creates!!!
Favorite Book: My friend Lenard by: James Frey
Describe your style: Bohemian bum meats trendy 90’s
What are you currently obsessed with: Instagram…and thrift store shopping. It’s becoming a problem.
What’s the most random thing in your bag: My sketch book! I come up with some of my best ideas at castings for some reason. I become very inspired by all the different people.
If you could make your own music label, which five artists would you choose: Slug, Kid Cudi, Mac dre, Santigold, Beyonce
If you were stranded on an island what three things would you have with you: Water filter, a book about “what you can and cant eat while being stranded on an island”, and my dog tyson.
What is your Fashion Secret: If you like it and feel confident in it , it doesn’t matter what your wearing what matters is how you work it.
What’s your favorite body part: My hair, its not technically a body part but hey its attached to it!
All images by Douglas Neill
In 2011 I was hired on as the official in-house photographer for the Hollywood and Downtown Los Angeles Standard Hotel's (André Balazs Properties). I worked with the cultural director in covering events and happenings for various blogs and multimedia outlets.
All images by Douglas Neill for André Balazs Properties.
Life is short, so enjoy it. That conviction is in the air in Amsterdam, where I lived until 2012. Sidewalks and cafes are filled with people enjoying their breakfast, lingering over lunch, savoring dinner, taking slow walks in between. No one arrives on time for a party, since there is always time to stay later. Who cares?
It wasn't until I moved to live outside of New York City that I came to understand what Einstein taught us: Time is relative. While all minutes are created equal, some minutes are shorter than others. And the shortest of all minutes is the New York minute.
New Yorkers take this familiar phrase for granted, with a touch of humor. But the first time I heard it I was actually in Amsterdam. I was sitting with my young children in the park on a hot day in July, when a florid-faced man holding a crumpled map sat down next to me. He wiped his brow and said his name was Howard. He was a tourist from Texas. He told me that I lived in a great city. You take your time here, he said. But Howard said he would only spend one day in Amsterdam. Tomorrow he would do Paris.
"What about doing America?" I asked.
Oh, yes, of course. He had seen the Grand Canyon and been to Disneyland, Yellowstone. But, he added, smiling, he planned to avoid New York City. "I wouldn't set my foot there for a New York minute! "
What he meant, of course, is that the New York minute is the briefest possible unit of time -- a universal constant, shorter than a nanosecond, even shorter than the zillionth of an eye blink for a flash trade on Wall Street. In Johnny Carson's definition, a New York minute is the amount of time between when a traffic light in Manhattan turns green and the guy in the car behind you blows his horn. (Of course, Johnny could afford to crack wise about New York from the safety of his studio in Burbank.)
Now that I live near New York, though, I can witness New York minutes on any street corner. Tourists like me walk slowly, gaze around, stop at the curb before crossing a street, look both ways first. Not New Yorkers. They do not waste time contemplating buildings or making eye contact with strangers. New Yorkers speed up when they cross a street, never hesitate, never stop, just veer around the tourists and keep going. They cross the street in a New York minute.
The expression appears to have originated in Texas as a warning of instant trouble. "If that gal gets mad at you, she'll dump you in a New York minute." In the eyes of Texas, a New York minute is nasty and brutish. In New York, though, it's a self-deprecating badge of honor. "I'll get back to you in a New York minute."
New Yorkers care a lot about making things happen in a New York minute. So roads have special traffic lines to make it easier to move faster -- slow lanes, fast lanes, bus lanes, bike lanes, car-pool lanes, taxi lanes. None of these are in Amsterdam. The fast lane just gets you to the exit lane too soon.
I am often homesick for the pace of life in Holland. No one there is trying to cram three lifetimes into the minutes allotted for one. But, increasingly, I notice that the energy of New York feels right. I inhale it like air. I like not knowing exactly where I am going. I just follow the people wherever they are going -- to the next deal in the morning, then in the afternoon towards their lunches, and in the evenings towards their plays, concerts, benefits, and parties. My shoes wear out twice as fast, but I don't get tired. I am uplifted by the noises, the honking cabs, the shouts of the bike couriers. I let myself be carried into the thrashing river of humanity. And I float away into a sea of New York minutes.
Words by Eliane Gerrits
images of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week by Douglas Neill.
Do you wake up every morning and thank God for your surname? No, it’s a fucking drag to be called Mick Rock. You think to yourself, “Oh, shit.” It caught me in a bind from early on.
Why? Well, I was bound to do something in rock and roll. How was I going to avoid it?
You’ve photographed Daft Punk, and got to meet them with their helmets off. What do they look like? They’ve got this aura based on the fact that nobody knows anything about their private lives. They’re just two skinny little French guys: totally nonaggressive, very sweet, quiet, a little bit shy—until they hit the stage with their suits on and they become monsters. Monsters in the high art sense.
You did LSD with Syd Barrett. Did you photograph him high? No, I’m not sure if that would have worked, although, on one of my earlier trips, with this young lady, I did take some photos on the back lawn of Cambridge—can you imagine me at Cambridge University? I picked up this mate’s camera—I couldn’t afford one at the time—and it intrigued me.
Do you feel like the photos came out badly because you were on acid? It’s too early in my development for me to judge anything. But I would say that predicting the results is very difficult, so if you want to get something within a certain boundary, you might ixnay on the LSD. Now, I haven’t taken LSD in over 40 years. I did what I needed to do, and it transformed my motherfucking brain.
Of all the photos you’ve taken, which one is your favorite? Listen, I don’t mind it at all, and I’m used to it, but everyone always asks me this. And I have a cute answer, but it’s a bit wriggly: it depends on the day of the week, the week of the month, the month of the year, or whether or not I’m having my period. Men have periods too, don’t they? There’s no blood oozing, or none of that shit, but they do, because the pull of the moon does affect us.
Your Bowie portrait, where he’s looking in the mirror, feels almost beatific. That was very early on in his career, for this men’s magazine called Club International. When David saw the picture, he said, “Mick sees me like I see myself,” and that was really the shoot that cemented our relationship. We’re doing another Ziggy Stardust book—half of it previously unseen photos—which is coming out this spring.
Is Bowie easy to photograph? Of course he’s easy. It’s like having a cup of tea. You’ll throw him a line or two, and he doesn’t need a lot of direction, but he won’t fight it. It’s all instinct. And it was always that way. I mean, look at all the photos of him, all these amazing pictures.You’re going to get a great shot because he’s David Bowie.
Interview by Matthew Kassel.
Portrait by Douglas Neill at Sunset Marquis.
channeled the roaring ’20s for its first-ever dress presentation. Karen Erickson and Vicki Beamon have long been known as pioneer designers in the fashion jewelry world, collaborating with the likes of Anna Sui, Dior and Givenchy since the 1980’s. For their first foray into ready-to-wear, their day jobs as jewelers was clearly referenced. Black lace panel dresses featured jeweled multi-strand beading. A Tanzanite silk and lace dress was hung ever so delicately by a suspended animation chain back.
“We wanted to do a presentation where people were dancing, so I thought, well then we’re going to have to make the clothes,” said Beamon. “We didn’t know how to make jewelry when we started years ago, so it didn’t matter that we had never done it.” The event, held on the 8th floor of Milk Studios, was a raucous celebration, where The Citizens Band played swinging jazz-era music on a stage set like an old nightclub. Models danced on tables, swilled champagne and let loose.
All images by Douglas Neill.