I Just landed in Rome after a long flight, luggage hunt, and flight delay. Even still lets be honest what’s not to love about Italy if you dont have to deal with the politics or corporate beaurocracy. Italy is full of warmth and good taste that underly their desire to relate and be close to one another. The sun and mediterranean culture have done alot for the spirit of the people as much as it diffuses the efficiency of the government into something of a parody, but Miami in the states and any warm climate south american gov’t can boast ownership of the same. On Monday I leave for Capri. I am constantly teased by my friends and family for planning my vacations sometimes years in advance, reserving apartments, buying tickets , but I have a two bedroom in capri for three weeks for a very modest sum, and a group of friends that were either invited or invited themselves much to my delight and our house will be full of the kind of energy and laughter that will heal the soul. Typing on a european keyboard takes a second to get used to again, spent 15 minutes looking for the question mark and everything is spelled incorrectly according to the Italian autocorrect. This trip for me is cathartic, after three years of intense stress and emotional , physical trials I have emerged on the other side, not unscathed, but a whole hell of a lot wiser. This trip this year is about the choices I’m making to build the life I want to have after some serious disillusioning. Disillusioning is good , its a painful process especially as an artist as dreams are the basis of creativity, yet dreams can also cloak the lies we tell to ourselves or others, the pride, or arrogance or the destructive insecurties that rise up and try to obstruct us from living the life we were meant to have in place of the one we think we are supposed to have. Jospeh Campbell’s book . Reflections on the Art of Living is where that is from. I have gone on the heroes quest and have brought back the jewel to the world, whether appreciated or not it was the journey I took that was necessary for me to grow to have my own myths debunked. To have to let go of everythig I thought gravity held down. Thank you for everyone that helped give me the strength when I didnt have enough of my own. I love you and will always be there for you.

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Behind the scenes

I wanted to share a few behind the scene photographs from our last Citibank Campaign.We shot Olympic and Paraolympic Athletes. The shoot was tough with lots of pressure and two crews, but the opportunity to work this this calibre of human being made it all worth it. Here are Athletes that have achieved through perseverance and sheer will. I walked away from this with a deep respect for them and a conviction that if you have hope there is nothing you cant achieve beyond what people would expect to be your limitations.

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Graffiti may save the art world

I was in the Wynwood area of Miami driving to go to a soccer game my Bf was playing in got lost and dropped right into what used to be some of the most dangerous areas of Miami. Lo and behold , my god , Art everywhere. Graffitti of the best level. A few days later I walked to meet my cousin Toniko for lunch and ran smack into the mural the uber talented David Cooper did for Trendy studios . I worked with him at Siempre Mujer and was literally blown away by his talent in grafitti art. He did a piece for Sprite, if you havent seen it look it up its up there with the best. There was Retna, Kenny Scharf, Boxi, Space invader. All the illegally put up offerings. There was rumored to be a Banksy which we didnt see. Shepard Fairey has exploded all over the walls at the Wynwood Kitchen and Bar ( incidentally the food is really good too) and in the back a series of courtyards including a labrynth with even more provacative pieces.

It reminded me of the art scene in Paris 1920’s , when audiences cared so much about Art , dance, and music, they rioted after seeing the Sacres de Printemps. Or got Riotous after Picasso’s Bordel d’Avignon.

Art since the 70’s has become the domain of the elite, isolating and very difficult to understand for those that did not get an art school education. Piles of shit ( literally) , Expelling stomachs that result in a pile of compacted synthetic poo in a jar to buy ( remember this in Germany and then it got gas and started flatulating in the museum), uncomfortable flesh like latex used to construct flanges and objects and then people ask what does it mean? And despair to find meaning in it, in this contrived universe of forced ideas. Where has the passion gone?

My mentor introduced me to an elderly painter who was from the Picasso era in Paris. He was rough, ballsy, and talented . He left the urbane sanctuary of my mentor’s house in huff after being told to get his shoes off the couch to go drink and pick up women. Artists were the unrepenting rock stars of their times. Full of passion, piss, and vinegar.

Enter the graffiti artist. I was unaware of this movement till my younger brother opened my eyes skating around the city, he showed me the city as I hadn’t seen it before. As an even younger grom he had written Fairey to help spread the OBEY message and put up Fairey posters around Montpellier. Kenny Sharf was a childhood friend and had painted my brother a motorcycle helmet way before Gap had him paint shirts. I had been so caught up in the elite Art world that I missed the art world that was happening right before me. Keith Haring and the like was alive and well in the works of Banksy. These kids were taking risks to make their voices heard. You have to admire that kind of dedication.
Blossoming on the side of Art Basel’s Art elite was the even more vibrant street art underground festival.

I once said that Hip hop would save the world, giving a common language to different levels of societies , demographics , and the downtrodden in all countries . It also gave them an outlet with which to make themselves heard. Pakistani hip hop, Cuban hip hop, Palistinian hip hop, Israeli Hip hop , South African hip hop. Worth checking out. were the girls that turned me onto this. Young kids using music to speak out against the things that have been imposed on them. Not the Arab traditional roles for women or the war. I will expand on this later.

So the same I say for you. Art world, this baggy jean and sweatshirt wearing crew just may be the thing that saves you from extinction.

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Its been a second since I’ve had time to write. WE’ve been inundated with work, all amazing. I am grateful to be included in so many great teams. We shot Lindsey Vonn and Brandon Jennings with the awesome Dirk Rees for Underarmour. Another over the top editorial of the imagination with Italian Amica. Cover of Harper’s Bazaar with Jeff Koons, A story for Candace Bushnell and Barbara Corcoran, plus a commercial with my Fav Kate Upton. Its been a heavy hitting intense week. We just finished a week of Olympic hopefuls including Sonia Richards ( LOVE) for Citibank. This Thursday I fly to Seattle to start prepping the TV show land back on Monday to do a smashbox event while getting ready to work on Carmen’s biography. Whew! And its just february and we just got through fashion week with the amazing classic Stephen burrows, next year is his retrospective at the New York City Museum.

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Carmen Dell’Orefice. Amica December 2011

Carmen Dell’Orefice was a long standing Model I have wanted to work with. She was amazing. The entire crew on this shoot was one of those rare ones where everything is perfect. It was a dream come true shoot. 19 pages of magic. Its right up there with working with Robert Redford and Michelle Obama. Everyone from the prop designer to the producer all in sync. Matt Avedon was our male model, Daiane Conterrato our female model. Chris Craymer the Photographer. I have little to say in regards to the shoot as the images speak for themselves. Great job team.


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Sara Bareilles

We did this 50’s inspired styling for Sara Bareilles’s Band for the today show. It was AMAZING. They couldnt keep from Cracking up.
That’s right white and powder blue instruments! And Powder blue tux’s with ruffles. I love Sara, she can actually sing and play. Her band has a hilarious twitter site shitmytoursays. One of their roadies read it to me, I actually fell over laughing. For anyone who wants the skinny from the inside of what the band members are actually thinking subscribe to this one

Sara Bareilles , Today show, Gonna Get Over You.

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Julie Jones from Twilight

She’s gorgeous and incidentally from the same tribe. Who knew?? You wont get a full sense of it from her roll as a resident wolf bad-ass how delicate her features are. We did a men’s inspired shoot with her in Boston and they cut one of the shots I was absolutely bonkers about. Moschino gold embroidered tux with tails and LV tap shorts. Yoww. But there are shots here that i am really proud of. She was easy to work with down to earth and very fun. So for you twi-hards, she’s def one who lives up to the hype.

Outside the post office downtown

Inside the study

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The sweet smell of perfume

Last Friday in LA with my older brother, the brilliant classical composer and House DJ Gabriel D. Vine, he took me to the wonderful sliver of a store called The Scent Bar in Beverly Hills.

They were premiering a scent collection by the perfumer Andy Tauer who was there to greet and discuss. My brother pounced.

Any one who has any inkling to the Perfume world knows that the French are long standing masters of subtle nuances of scent, Grasse being the capital of fragrance extraction for hundreds of years. French women and men will frequently have several signature scents varying in intensity from Day Wear, a casual luncheon, to an exciting date night. Their perfume being chosen carefully to impart a memory to the unknowing audience. I spent about 2 years shopping around for what I have thought of as my signature scents. The complex top notes, middle, and heart notes that I felt made ” me ” up. During a particularly decadent trip to Paris I found myself wandering over to the Serge Lutens boutique. It has a temple like atmosphere and diligent well versed shop keepers. I fell in love with two of their available only in Paris scents, Sarrasins,and Ambre Sultan. One is a very complicated sandalwood/ylang ylang that I use for the day and for evening events that require exotic worldliness, the other is a Jasmine blend that to me captivates the night. My Friend Guillaume swears by their Tubereuse Criminelle a cross between rose and Menthol.

Scent is such a strange unconscious thing and we frequently underestimate the effect of it around us. Our natural body odor mixing with the oils of the perfumes personalizes the fragrance in a few minutes. I became obsessed with scents as an adult, holiday walks through the mall as a kid left me emotionally scarred by the scores of perfume pushers standing by ready to blast you by whatever golden liquid was in their shaped glass bottle. That is until I discovered pure essential oils. Once I had my nose in a bottle of pure Indian Jasmine or French Rose I was a convert. I didn’t know until that moment the pleasure scents could give. I was transported.

I brought my sensitive but untrained nose and my collection of essential oils and amateur blends I had attempted to my brother in La during a visit. Now fast forward a couple years, he has now turned what was a mild obsession of mine into a level of almost addiction. Did you know there are websites for people that will exchange portions of their perfume bottle contents in exchange for others Vintage or new. He has bottles in his fridge, and usually one or two new scents arriving. I am fascinated by his meticulous analysis of all his perfumes it reminds me of his music the way he analyzes notes. Which brings us back to the Scent Bar in Beverly Hills. A unique and well stocked supply of unexpected and independent perfumers as well as some solid standards, probably the most comprehensive in the US. He’s a regular there, and for a shop thats only been open six years, they love what they do. I met quite a few regulars there.

Alicia, a stylist I respect, turned me on a few years ago to Frederick Malle. Frederick has just recently expanded into NYC and LA in boutiques bringing over more of their complete line. My tasteful ex turned me onto UK’s Annick Goutal’s Eau de Charlotte, a scent the perfumer created for her daughter based on Black Current. When I visited their boutique in London during a Vogue job, I found they made the Eau de Charlotte in a bar of soap. I have distinguished friends that swear by Maria Santa Novello. If you are in New York try Bond #9, Le Labo, or Aedes de Venustas

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Lets talk about HandBags. The single most iconic female possession ( followed shortly by shoes). A woman’s Purse is the equivalent of what Patek Philipe or Jaeger-Lecoultre has done for watches for example. Subtle assumed definition of the intrinsic qualities of the bearer. From the 6 figure gold and diamond alligator Birkin (named for the beautiful English Actress/Singer Jane Birkin) to the diamond encrusted white gold evening bag from Chanel.

Bag Borrow or Steal , made famous in the first installation of Sex in the City -the movie, Rents bags by the week or month. So now you can have that Birkin or Chanel and hold your head high or go into a meeting and feel that they perceive you as a player. That’s the intended affect. I just used them for a job last week. We rented a few bags for the commercial and that saved a huge chunk of the budget.

My tastes for the past few years have headed more towards the Indie designers. Our friends at Bodhi do this amazing quilted Rectangle bag.
The current season does it in Ostrich.
I have four Bodhi bags in my closet.

Yesterday I went to this AMAZING Italian Bag store in Hoboken. Viola Vita. Mario the owner makes one of’s. Glove leather shoes and jackets. We were in Hoboken yesterday shooting with Natalie Morales and I had wandered around the corner after work . I bought this GORGEOUS red zipped handbag. I usually buy one per season. I am rough on my bags. I use them and take them everywhere so they get worn. This place is a local phenomenon local ladies line up when there is a delivery to get handmade Italian bags at the best price in the city considering the workmanship.

A woman rocking a men’s bag is hot. Swaine Adeney’s ( check out the Gladstone) Urbane all leather doctors bag could get you through a weekend tryst through an entire week. I have always had some sort of emotional love affair with this type of bag, gives me the feeling at any moment I am prepared to hop a plane to someplace exotic like Tanzania or Zanzibar right out of an old Toto or Duran Duran Video. For those in the US Jcrew has had the foresight to start carrying this bag as well as the Globetrotter My favourite bag for the longest time was my vintage german Military messenger bag. Thick beautiful leather walls. About the size of a large University textbook. The name of the officer is written on the pocket inside and the back strap allows for a belt or shoulder strap. The rivets are elegant, thick, and clean. This bag is meant to take a beating and last.

its raining

Its raining on a Friday night. I love it when it rains. Its slightly Melancholy in a way that feels good. The Japanese had a name for this in the colour of pale lavender, murasaki. To them it was a poetic kind of longing. In the tale of Genji, they talk in extremely refined allegory. For example , and this is heavy handed, if I sent a white clean hand deckled note written in lavender ink. The note would say Has the dew touched the grass under your window. You would know ( if you were a courtier in Heian Japan) that I was declaring that my love for you was pure (the white paper) but full of longing ( dew on the grass) and melancholy ( lavender). You would also probably think that the note was extremely course and that the writer was unrefined especially if it had been wrapped in a blade of grass. The same refined allegorical way of communication extended to the clothing as well. Its probably too long of a discussion and tedious for those not interested in Japanese historical minutiae. I think the best and most accessible author on this subject is Liz Dalby. She apprenticed as a geisha for her studies. Here’s a link to her book.

photo by Colodio

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