An interview with Idee Geniale

Melanie is a fashion merchandiser for the Kensie/Kensiegirl/mac & jac brand, and an independent fashion blogger living in Brooklyn. Originally from Canada, she writes about style and posts daily outfit pictures at her blog, Idée Geniale (‘bright idea’ in French). Melanie is one of our favorite fashion bloggers and must-reading here at Dusty Rose Vintage. We were so excited to see her unique take on styling some of our clothes.

When did you start the blog?

In 2008, but I only started getting serious about it in June of this year.

Why did it get serious?

I think because of Chictopia [a social networking site where the fashion loving individuals post their style for commentary from their peers]. When I saw that people would actually read what I wrote about my outfits, and leave lots of comments, that’s when I decided. I was taking pictures of my outfits every day anyway. So why not see what other people had to say about them?

How did you find out about Chictopia?

Through Teen Vogue. I saw a blurb for it in the magazine, and got hooked. Once you start with that thing, it’s impossible to stop.

Have you always been so into fashion?

Definitely not. Actually I had no interest in shopping or clothes growing up. My mom and sister used to put outfits together for me as I had no sense of what matched. Then as I got older I fell into the jeans, sneakers, and hoodies routine. I was never particularly girly since I had nowhere to wear skirts or dresses. I was really into snowboarding so that lifestyle took over my sense of dressing. Then about 5 years ago I finally broke out of it and one summer decided I was only going to wear dresses that whole summer. I slowly started to build my wardrobe with girly dresses, and skirts, and then got into blouses and eventually dresses weren't only for summer. I was wearing them all year round. That leads me to the style I have now.

What makes you get up and take your outfit pictures and post everyday, it must be very time consuming?

It is, especially that I take all of my pictures myself and sometimes am running late! Then I started getting emails from readers asking sincere questions about not only my outfits but my life in the fashion industry and how to go about getting into fashion as a career, it made me realize that girls are looking up to me for advice and I want to help them out with as much information as possible. I'm so happy that girls feel comfortable asking me questions and want advice even though they've never met me. It's really exciting to get email from readers all around the world.

Do you wear vintage exclusively?

No. I feel like I have a split personality. Through my work at Kensie, I own a lot of contemporary clothes, and that leads to some very contemporary looks. But all the contemporary stuff I like is very vintage-inspired. I wear a lot of Kensie/Kensiegirl and Mac & Jac, but if I did not work in fashion, it’s possible I would wear only vintage.

Do you still go to a lot of thrift stores?

I’m a hardcore thrifter. But thrifting is too expensive in New York. Plus the racks are so picked over anyway. I go to Canada and stock up. I get the best scores at the Value Village in Vancouver. It’s called something else in the States.


That’s right. There are a couple in the city, so if there are any Vancouverites reading this, don’t go to the Value Village in Hastings. Too many hipsters got there before you. Go to the one in Burnaby.

What is your proudest moment in thrifting?

I have a true Canadian Eskimo parka, made in Manitoba. It’s white with a vivid purple lining and fox fur trim on the hood. I’m vegan, but I will make some fur exceptions for old garments. This is one of them. I got it for just a few bucks, but it fit me perfectly the second I put it on, and I’ve worn it every winter since. That was fifteen years ago. And I’m still in love with it.

Of all the Dusty Rose pieces you modeled, did you have a favorite?

My favorite item would have to be the Emporio Armani shorts. Too bad they're actually one size too small!! But they're so versatile that I could've paired them with anything. They're dressy enough to pull off a fancier look (like with the lace top) but can also be paired with something more casual (like the pendleton jacket). I think they'd definitely be a staple in any wardrobe...of someone who's smaller than me of course.

Thanks, Melanie!

One of our favorite fashion bloggers, Idee Geniale

We were so excited to do a collaboration with the lovely and talented Idee Geniale. She has such a unique personal style, so we were really interested to see how she would style the pieces she picked out. We follow her blog, Idee Geniale, as well as her posts on Chictopia, so we were curious to see what she'd choose when she came to our studio. Some of the pieces were not what I would have expected, and I was amazed at how she added her own uniquely modern vision to the looks.

This is a 1960s Pendleton jacket that were were digging for it's country rustic feel, but she threw that image on it's head and glammed it up by cinching the waist with a belt and pairing it with some shmancy Armani shorts. We were tres impressed!

This is a 1950s school girl cropped sweater. I was thinking deep indigo jeans, thick cuffs and saddle shoes. I'm a vintage lass at heart and tend to take things very literally at times. So I was so stoked to see her take. I feel like her styling makes this look totally 50s French Bohemian. She looks like she was a card carrying member of the Beat Generation. Awesome!

And not only does Idee Geniale's have impeccable fashion sense, she also makes adorable hair accessories on Etsy!

Stay tuned for more photos and an interview!

Join us at the 2009 Bust Holiday Craftacular

If you are in New York, come out and see us at the Bust Holiday Craftacular. It's Sunday, December 6th from 10:00 - 7:30 at the Metropolitan Pavilion (125 W. 18th Street, btwn 6th and 7th Ave).

We will have tons of stuff that's not listed in our shop, plus lots of fun gift items like housewares, pulp fiction and jewelry.

Hope to see you there!

Why we love vintage...

When we were shooting this look an Austrian girl on the street came up to ask if this jacket was vintage. When we told her yes she was overcome with nostalgia and told us that when she was a child all the kids wore these jackets. She said she couldn’t believe she was seeing this blazer on a random street in Williamsburg and that it was such a nice piece of home.

And then we felt all warm and fuzzy. :)

More at our shop

SugarHill Works Round 2: Ciel Mahoney

Ciel Mahoney is an artist and entrepreneur who lives in the Sugar Hill neighborhood of Harlem, New York City. She is a partner in SugarHill Works, a small business specializing in custom websites, scanning, and printing, which she runs in part with Jenny Burgos – who has also modeled for Dusty Rose - as well as Dan Weisser and Tan-ya Gerrodette. After our photo shoot, we spoke with Ciel about stoops, suburbia and photomontages.

Where are you from?

I was born in Minneapolis and grew up in Wisconsin and Montana (separate parents), then passed through Seattle.

The pictures of you look amazing. We hope you liked them.

It was a little embarrassing to be in front of the camera, but I think they came out well. I've worked in photography for years, & printed millions of fashion photos in the darkroom. Us photo lab rats are habitually camera-shy, but I had a lot of fun with your shoot. And after looking at so many bland fashion images, I really admire what you're doing, using "real people" to model your clothes.

What was your favorite piece from the shoot?

I actually loved the first dress I tried on, that green one - it was a pretty color. And the white one with little colored shapes on it made me feel like a happy little kid.

Tell us about what clothes you usually wear.

I don’t actually own any dresses, even though there were a lot in the shoot. I used to wear short skirts, which are kind of comfortable. Now, anyone who knows me will laugh at the idea of me in a dress... I'm totally gonna show off the pics from your shoot, for shock value! I mainly dress in a utilitarian way, and for comfort - my roommate calls me a "comfortarian". I haven’t actually bought any clothes for the last few years, because I’ve been doing the whole ‘starting a business and being totally broke’ thing.

What do you do for fun?

In theory, I work on my own photography and artwork, but in reality, now I work on managing SugarHill website projects so much that for fun I just do simple things like read, cook, go for walks, play with my cat. Building a business kind of takes over your life, and writing website code all day has made me a bit of a hermit.

What would you like to do?

I’d love to travel, a lot. I’m obsessed with India right now, but I want to go all over the world. I've decided that if the US gets too bad, I'll just outsource myself, and go work in some remote place, or be a nomad.

You told us that you like to make art with digital photo montage, often with found images. We love the image that you shared with us. Can you tell us about it?

It’s called Earthly Delights. It’s inspired by a Hieronymus Bosch painting called The Garden of Earthly Delights, which is a triptych that represents the Garden of Eden on one side, Hell on the other, and something else in between. Most art historians consider the central panel to be a warning of the peril of life's temptations. My version was a take on the weird, modern earthly delights in our somewhat sterile world of suburban subdivisions. Like, is this what we really think is an important ideal? You can see there’s some Disney imagery in there, the Magic Kingdom, yet some of the elements give a sense of trouble in paradise. This is our idea of earthly delights today: a shiny gated community.

That’s kind of the opposite of where you live.

We live in a great historical building surrounded by a community that actually still talks to each other. After we moved in, we became friends with a great guy called Azie Faison. He grew up there, and his mother still lives in the building. You should look him up. He’s a bit of an urban legend, a former drug dealer who turned his life around and became a hip-hop artist with a mission to encourage youth to follow a different path. His life story was made into a movie called ‘Paid in Full’. He knows everything about the neighborhood. A few minutes talking to him on the stoop and you’re up to speed.

No one makes you feel unwelcome?

No. Most people are friendly and used to looking out for each other. The only problem I’ve ever had is with some single men who just come right out and ask ‘are you married’ or ‘do you have kids’? It seems an odd way to get a date. I usually just say yes, and I don’t want any. It’s fine, really.

You mentioned stoops before. The Harlem stoop seems to be one of the few places left where people can really meet and talk to strangers in New York and it not be weird.

That’s true. The neighborhood is so strong and tight-knit, the stoop culture is important to that. I’m actually kind of angry right now about the changes gentrification brings. We've been flagged as a 'high crime' neighborhood, which means that armies of cops are on patrol everywhere, harassing people hanging out on the stoops, even old men with their domino games. Recently, there have been some horrible rapes in our neighborhood, and the police and the TV news have come in and put on a big show for everybody. But with the police hassling the regular guys on the street, less people are hanging out on the stoops. And that just makes the neighborhood more dangerous, because there aren’t those people looking out for each other all the time.

That seems pretty stupid.

It’s a disconnect between how different people think about ‘quality of life’ issues. The yuppies buying up brownstones and the cops see people on the stoop as some sort of disorder. It’s the opposite. They create a community, which creates safety. Some people just have an image in their head: stay in your sanitized apartments, go to work, come home and go back inside. It’s the gated community fantasy, I guess.

Thanks, Ciel.

Meet Dusty Rose Jenny Burgos

Jenny Burgos is the co-founder of SugarHill Works, a boutique printing, scanning and web design company based in New York. We spoke with Jenny about design peeves, elephants and stimulus.

Where are you from?

I grew up in Nutley, New Jersey.

Why the name: Sugar Hill Works?

We live in the Sugar Hill neighborhood, which is a little part of Harlem. We run our business from our apartment, so that’s why we chose the name. We have no affiliation with the hip-hop outfit The Sugar Hill Gang. Apart from liking them.

You and Dan Weisser are the co-owners of this business, which you run from home, and also room-mates. Do you see too much of each other?

We have a great relationship, so it’s not really a problem. Dan can do a lot of work off-site, so if it gets really claustrophobic, he can work from a café or friend’s house. . We also have two other co-partners in the business: Ciel Mahoney and Tan-ya Gerodette. Ciel also lives in the area, so they work at her place too.

It sounds wonderfully incestuous…

Dan and I worked in a rental darkroom together, and we gradually got tired of working for other people. So we decided to start a boutique business of our own, producing high quality inkjet prints, excellent film and flat art scans and building custom websites. Ciel and Tanya are friends who donated their time and ideas and are now partners.

What is the biggest start up challenge?

When you start your first business, you don't realize all the costs and minor details there are. Also finding customers and earning their trust is always a challenge. We have their livelihoods in our hands. We are handling their negatives or running their sites, which are their main contact with their customers.

That makes sense. It should be. What are you most proud of, so far, in running this business?

First of all, we’re just proud we did it. And people give us props for offering low prices to people who are just starting out in the business, and I’m proud of that too. One of the coolest things we did was hosting a free gallery show for all out clients. We rented a gallery space in Chelsea and invited all of our clients to submit a piece of work. The broad theme was “Elephants and Candy”.

Elephants and Candy?

Candy for SugarHill, Elephants, because Dan likes them. He likes them an enormous amount. What's not to like about elephants? The show was a great success, one of our clients sold their work.

You design incredible websites. So many sites online are just terrible. What are your design peeves that make you scream ‘you should have used Sugar Hill’ at the computer screen?

It’s got to be navigation. I’m putting together a bridal shower for my sister at the moment, and shopping for gifts and stuff for the event. So many sites make it so hard to see their merchandise. It’s as if they secretly think that if they make their website bad enough, you’ll just give up and make a trip to their physical store. I won’t. Photos looking unprofessional I obviously hate. Clashing colors, fonts that don’t catch your eye… the list is endless.

Until those sites beat a path to your door, we hear you’re asking President Obama for some help?

Yes! We are trying to get a small business loan from the Stimulus Package. There are not many available, but I think we have a good shot. The loan is up to $35,000, which would really help a lot.

What was your favorite piece from the shoot?

That first dress I wore – the black lace one. It was really short but had a high neck line. I don’t wear things like that very often, but it was wonderful. Modest and sexy and classy, all at the same time.

Thanks, Jenny.

Dusty Rose Vintage Photo Shoot!

We were so excited to be asked by the talented photographer, Po Ewing, asked to use some of our clothes for a photo shoot. We ADORE the results!

Introducing Loribeth Capella

Loribeth Capella is a musician, artist and girl-about-town in New York City. We took some pictures of her wearing our clothes, and spoke about music, found objects and Mexican iguanas.

We put some of your collages on our site. We love them. What’s going on in your work?

These pieces are from a fictional family album series I have been working on for a couple of years. It is inspired by family scrap-booking, mixed with ideas from Victorian decoupage. I use found and my own photography, as well as textile prints, antique jewelry, old catalogs, anything that catches my eye at the swap meets.

There’s an absurd domestic thing happening in your work that Dusty Rose loves.

Yeah, I guess they are pretty surreal family scenes. Sometimes I sneak images of my family and I into the work. Most are distorted childhood memories. Sugar sweet but slightly creepy at the same time.

Did you go to school for art?

I went to Parsons School of Design and studied illustration, but in some ways my work developed in opposition to what I experienced there. A lot of my classmates were into hyper-realist work, and I tried to work that way. But I pushed against that after graduating, because I was kind of bored of it. I got more into using found images and blowing them up and then cutting them up so they are unrecognizable. That’s way more fun for me.

Do you show your work in the city?

No, I need to. I’ve been a bit shy about it, but that is the plan. Sometimes I think I'm going to end up like Henry Darger and no one will ever see my work until they find thousands of collages in my apartment after I die.

You’re also in Dusty Rose’s favorite named band: Musik Klub.

I’m glad you like it! Musik Klub is all about hanging out with friends who don’t take themselves too seriously, but still want to play good music you can dance around in your underwear to. We play fun, keyboard/ synth dance music, and we also use a kindergarten-sized glockenspiel on some songs. I have to play a kids’ one because I’m kind of small and its easy to carry on the subway. It’s hard to explain what we sound like I'm not even sure I know. Someone said we sounded a little like Tom Tom Club. I can dig that.

We want to put one of your songs on our blog.

Definitely. We’re just finishing up a new track in the studio right now. We’ll send it to you as soon as it’s done.

Have you been in other bands before?

I was in a funny punk band when I was younger. We were called ATM. We wrote some silly songs, but the Music Club project is a little more mature.

You just got back from Tulum, Mexico. What was it like?

It’s heaven under the sun. It’s a hippy resort, the kind of place where you can walk barefoot in the jungle, and hang out next to iguanas on the oldest cliffs in the world. Everyone is really happy and peaceful, there’s no crime or anything to worry about. I felt so inspired there. Maybe it was the Mayan spiritual healing. Everyone needs a Mexican holiday. And Tulum is hurting after Swine Flu, so it’s really cheap if you book your trip now.

Did you enjoy taking pictures with us?

Yes, you guys have wonderful taste in vintage. I especially liked that little kids’ dress with the British policemen on it. That, and the cool mom slacks with the plaid shirt. That was fantastic – I felt six feet tall in those pants.

Thanks, Loribeth.

We'll be at the launch of the W'burg Flea Market

Come check us out Sunday, June 14th from 10 -6 at the launch of the Williamsburg Flea Market. It's on Wythe between S 2nd and S 3rd Street. Not sure what to expect, but figured it was worth a shot. The weather looks iffy but we have a canopy.

See you there!

This week's Dusty Rose: artist Ariana Page Russell

Ariana Page Russell is an artist living in New York City. Ariana has dermatographia, a condition which allows her to painlessly draw patterns on her skin. She photographs the patterns (which fade over about 30 minutes), and uses those images to create tattoos, wallpaper, installations and other artworks. Ariana did a great shoot for us, then talked to Dusty Rose about her work, the wonder of wallpaper, and being modest when your subject is your own skin.

We picked a work of yours called Click 'Flora' to show everyone the kind of art you can create with your skin. Tell us about this piece.

The pattern is from an old sample of wallpaper that I found. I traced the design, and turned it into a stencil. My father is a wallpaper hanger in Portland, Oregon, so over time I’ve become really interested in this form of decoration. He would send me sample books and scraps of old wallpaper from homes he worked in. Some designs go back decades. Wallpaper shares some of the features of skin that interest me. They both display the passage of time: when you strip wallpaper, you see layer after layer marking different time periods. Skin does the same, with wrinkles and freckles. But both provide a space for adornment, too. That idea partly led me to work with tattoos.

In the pictures from our shoot, we can see the large tattoo on your back. Did you get that before you started making work with dermatographia, and what does it mean to you?

It was after. It’s about a year old. I like the simplicity of the design, and I really like circles. Also, the tattoo on the back of my neck covers up a kanji tattoo I got when I was very young.

You say your work investigates how ‘shifting exteriors reveal as they conceal’. It seems like your tattoo is an example of that.

Sort of. Skin protects us and hides our interior from view. But it can also reveal things about you, like when a person blushes or becomes sick. Recently I’ve turned some of the patterns made from my skin into temporary tattoos, which decorates my skin in a different way than drawing on it directly. I scan the cut photographs of my skin adapted from clothing and wallpaper, then turn them into the tattoos. I remove some of them and place them on the wall or window after they’ve made contact with my body. They leave traces of cells and hair, and holding a record of my skin at that moment in time.

Does it feel strange to be so present in your own work, displaying all these images of your exposed skin?

It can be strange. Some people think that because I show photographs of myself, I must be an exhibitionist or something. But I’m actually a very modest person. I don’t like to wear revealing things.

Did you have garment from our shoot that you liked more than the others?

I loved the plaid dress. It was the first thing I tried on and it was great. I love plaid and I love little dresses. It would keep me cool in the heat: this is going to be my first humid New York summer, so I need to buy more summer clothes.

Thanks Ariana.

This interview has been edited for length and content. It is not a transcription.

Our Latest Dusty Rose: Diana Whitten

Diana Whitten is a documentary filmmaker, currently working on her first feature-length film, ‘Vessel’. Vessel is the story of Women on Waves, and organization that provides reproductive health services to women in countries where birth control and abortion services are illegal. They invite women onto their specially designed ship, and by doing their work in international waters, they evade prosecution and spare women from the horrific risks of unsafe abortions.

We spoke with Diana about this incredible project, and why you should get a job at Fashion Week.

How did you first hear about Women On Waves?

I was getting my Masters in international media at the New School, and one rainy afternoon, a classmate asked me if I’d heard about this abortion boat. We started looking it up together, and something just clicked. I just knew it would make a great story.

The driving force behind Women On Waves is Rebecca Gomperts, an activist and medical doctor from the Netherlands. You can see from the film’s trailer, everywhere Rebecca goes, a media spectacle ensues..

As soon as I started making it, I became fascinated by the way video is used as a social activist tool. In a way, the media attention is the most important part of what Women On Waves do. They certainly save women’s lives, but the ship isn’t a sustainable solution. They can only stay in one place so long, and they can only help a handful of the people who really need them. The media spectacle helps show how absurd this situation is: women have to sail into international waters to excise their human rights. This absurd act becomes an event that activists can organize around, and boost reproductive rights campaigns on a national political stage.

What I love about this group is how many ways there are to tell their story. It’s a story of activism and media theatre, but it’s also a romantic story of outlaws – human rights pirates. And it’s also a simple story about passionate people who are trying to right a wrong. Now the film is turning into a mini-courtroom drama. I’m shooting in Spain soon, where one of the doctors featured in Vessel is being prosecuted for helping Women On Waves. He wants to use our footage to as evidence that he didn’t break the law.

Where can our friends learn more about the film?

Watch a trailer and more footage at, and stay up to date at our blog If you can spare a donation to help us finish the film, you can donate there. The film is entirely funded by grassroots supporters and their tax-deductible donations. And every little bit counts.

Dusty Rose agrees. Everyone should watch your amazing footage, donate, and then buy a piece from this photo shoot. Did you have a favorite from all the looks we shot?

That’s a hard question. I loved the spotted, ‘Stepford Wife’-style dresses. And maybe that yellow sundress. But they were all great. I can’t choose just one. I do freelance camera work at New York Fashion Week, and I try to play the same ‘which one would I take home’ game. But it’s impossible.

Fashion Week sounds like a dream gig.

The best thing about working there is you usually have access to the tents, so you can see the clothes up close. They are so exquisite, more sculpture than clothing.

Thanks, Diana.

Artists and Fleas market in Williamsburg

We've lived in the neighborhood for three years, but we've never tried out any of the markets before. But as the weather starts looking nicer, we thought we'd give this one a try. We're not really sure what to expect, but if you're in the area come check us out!

Artists and Fleas is on N 6th at Bedford in Williamsburg. We'll be there Saturday, May 16th from 12 - 8 pm.

Hope to see you there!

This week's Dusty Rose: Rachael Pease

Rachael Pease is an artist based in New York. She is currently making work on fabric and paper. Rachael has shown her work across the U.S. and Canada. Her last exhibition, “Coming to Terms with Life”, was shown at the Beaux-Arts Des Ameriques gallery in Montreal.

Thank you for this great shoot. Which piece did you like the most?

I don’t usually wear romper suits like the ones in your store. But they were super comfortable and cute. I hate really binding clothes, so I liked that they were loose but still made me look good. The hooded plaid one was my pick of the bunch.

You use fabric a great deal in your work. Why do you make that choice?

As a medium, it can give you a kind of transparency. I use very fine fabrics that make layering easy and create a kind of ephemeral quality. I love the way fabric allows for bleeding, seeping and staining. It can make art look a lot more fleeting than fixed. Lots of my work deals with shadows and Rorschach-like imagery, and the tension between revealing things and concealing things. (See more of Rachael’s art at

What are you working on right now?

I’m currently working on a family tree. This tree is more chaotic than the typical family tree, in which you can see clear relationships between generations or groups. In mine, there is one main bulb at the base of the tree that depicts figures in a dance. This dance, the meshing of their original human forms and parts, generates the new creatures in the smaller bulbs. These creatures are meant to be emblems of the self.

One of the pieces we feature is part of a collection called ‘Marriage’. Can you tell us a little more about it?

I struggle with titles, so you can’t read too much into that. But the piece has some images that are melodramatic, and some that I really want to have a monumental quality, even though the scale is small. The tension of marriage can be like that, melodrama mixed with monumental moments and emotions. I think a lot about ‘Of Mice and Men’, and Lennie loving and petting a rabbit so hard that he kills it. Plus there’s that great Bugs Bunny cartoon (‘Hiawatha Rabbit Hunt’, 1941) which plays with that idea.

So you’re saying your husband is a little animated bunny who you try to love, but are crushing to death?

Pretty much!

You and your husband Tadashi Moriyama live in the Bushwick neighborhood of Brooklyn. Do you like it?

It’s good. There are a lot of artists around, and lots of temporary galleries popping up everywhere. It’s a very diverse neighborhood too, with lots of different pockets of communities. I feel there are more Puerto Ricans than any other single group. But maybe that’s because they fly more flags. And they wear the flag on their clothing, too.

Did you grow up in a city?

I grew up in Franklin, Indiana, on a farm. I told you at the shoot that we didn’t wear a lot of clothes when we were children. You don’t have the same self-consciousness about appearances in a rural area, compared to the city. We basically ran around in our underwear all the time.

Why underwear?

I think because my underwear was always so much cooler than my clothes. I liked my She-Ra print the best. My sister had Wonder-Woman underwear, so we would run around playing the characters in their underpants. We didn’t like being bound up by all this restrictive clothing. I guess it’s a power and independence thing. It certainly explains why I like your comfortable rompers. In middle school I went the other way. Because my school wouldn’t let me wear anything fun, for I while I would come home and change into as slutty an outfit as possible. My mom would say I looked like a street-walker. And she meant it. She has no filter, God bless her.

What would she say about the pictures from this shoot?

“Eh. Whatever. I did what I could.”

Thanks, Rachael.

This week's shoot was photographed by David Wharton

Our first Dusty Rose: Julia Brown

Julia Brown is a fundraiser and event planner for museums and cultural centers. Until last month, she ran the Guggenheim Museum’s phenomenally successful First Fridays event, which transforms the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed structure into a monthly party space. This month she’s moving to London to work her magic with the Battersea Arts Center. Before she left, Dusty Rose caught up with Julia about contemporary art, dealing with DJs and New York’s hidden cocoa parlors.

First Fridays at the Guggenheim is now a fixture of life in New York. Why do you think it worked so well?

There is so much choice in New York, about everything. But First Fridays is still a unique experience. It’s rare to be able to socialize in an iconic, landmark building. That just makes a person feel special, to be able to drink and dance in this dramatic, Frank Lloyd Wright rotunda. It’s a temple-like building, and it makes you feel exclusive and cool.

Were you the first people to do it?

Yeah – we were the first major U.S. museum to host a late-night event like this where people could come and socialize, dance and drink and see art until 1 am as an alternative to going to a bar. It has become a popular model now with the Whitney, MoMA, and the Ruben Museum doing similar late night social events for young people. The Getty in LA also saw what we were doing and copied the format, although their event is outside and does not go as late. I hear even the Tucson Museum of Fine Art is on the bandwagon.

Some of the biggest DJs in the world play First Fridays. Do they know what they’re getting into?

Yeah, no. They don’t. When you’re in this room surrounded by priceless art, and you see Matthew Dear smashing a laptop over his bandmate’s head at the end of a set, you kind of realize that.

And some don’t get that the Guggenheim is essentially a non-profit, so we can’t splash out on riders like a nightclub. XXXChange – Spank Rock’s producer - wanted five cases of lager, two bottles of Moet and a bag of scratch lottery tickets. We didn’t give him anything, but his people said he understood ‘the constraints of the venue’. I think he was just seeing what he could get away with. Which I think is pretty funny.

But sometimes we don’t always know what we’re getting into. We booked Diplo in 2006. The Museum’s capacity is 1,500. We filled up instantly, and had 3,000 angry techno fans outside screaming to get in. I was physically holding back the crowd at some points. Then the neighbors complained about the 3,000 angry techno fans milling around their street, and I got a public disorder summons from the NYPD for my trouble.

I’m sure you won’t miss our lovely Police Department. Have you had some good last days in New York?

Absolutely. It was totally appropriate. I tried to take a last look around MoMa, and the International Center of Photography. But I’d been having such a great time eating and drinking all day with friends, they were closed by the time I got off my ass yesterday. Very New York: you aim for culture, but you hit bars.

Is there a non-touristy experience in the city you’d recommend for a Dusty Rose fan?

The Neue Gallery café on 86th and 5th Avenue. They have incredible Austrian cakes and wines, and they’ll serve you hot cocoa on a silver platter while you enjoy the view over Central Park. The trick is to get a booth and stay there all afternoon with the sun streaming in. It’s a great little place that not too many people think of.

And look out for Ryan McGinley photographs when he next exhibits. Last year he had an exhibition at Team Gallery called “I Know Where the Summer Goes”. Naked people running through landscapes and fireworks. They are such playful, beautiful images. If I could own any artwork, it would be a McGinley print. Hands down.

If we’re talking about photography, your shoot for Dusty Rose was fantastic. Did you have a favorite piece from the session?

Choosing one is hard. The zebra jumpsuit and trench-coat outfit was incredible. I felt like a bloody superstar in that. And the denim cut-offs and waistcoat look was so simple but totally great. It had that Williamsburg, androgynous little boy/girl thing going on. And you can feel cool wearing that all day, anywhere; lounging in the park or going to an opening or whatever. Plus you guys are just so great at styling and pairing. When I order from you in the UK, I’ll buy outfits, not pieces, because you put things together perfectly.

So you’re moving back to England, where you’re from. What can Dusty Roses in London expect at the Battersea Arts Center in the next few months?

Well, I have some ideas, but I’ll keep those cards close to my chest for now. Watch this space, is all I’ll say. And this month the BAC is still showing Don John, which is a threatrical take on Mozart’s Don Giovanni set in punk ‘70s Britain. So go see that before it closes.

What’s the first thing you’ll do when you get back to England?

Get down the pub for a gin and bitter lemon. And I love a good packet of Maltezers, so I’ll buy some of those next. I should probably start looking for a place to live first. But bollocks to that. Life’s about priorities, isn’t it?

Thanks, Julia.

Introducing our new project: Dusty Roses

We are very excited to launch our new project:

Dusty Roses - a semi-regular interview series with Women We Think Are Great.

We want to promote ladies who do great things while dressing them up in our beautiful clothes. They model our latest clothing, and talk about their life, work and passions. We hope you enjoy it. Sign up for our Facebook/MySpace/Twitter feeds to see the new content and images as soon as they are added.


Huge Vintage Sale!

We are moving our showroom soon so we've marked down over 1/3 of the items in our shop. Sale items are from 20 - 60% off!

Get some great deals here:

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