Poetry in Motion

delicate clothes of yore|
fall you might on future babies|
beautiful thread of life
make me clothes beautifully!!!!!
SO! that an athena-lanza-nikka dances
into a binary future.

I'm pretty sure people don't spend too much time reading the comments on blogs, so when our dear friend Thomas Isaac left this one, I felt like I had to let it see the light of day. Plus, our readers will be hearing more about him in the future. With all of the androgyny and "boyfriend" this and "boyfriend" that going on in the sartorial world right now, we've decided to roll out some of our favorite unisex wear, and we're hoping Thomas will be our first model. He is an extremely interesting guy with a lot of extremely interesting things going on in his life, so this will be an interview you shouldn't miss!

She's a Showgirl Godzilla

Gush... Nikka Graff Lanzarone is just one of those girls. She's a tall, slender, raven haired beauty with intense eyes that are a color that's almost impossible to describe - just let the photos do it for me. She's drop dead gorgeous AND she's filled to the brim with amazing stories. (I know, not fair, right?) She comes from a long line of performers - how many of your parents have Wikipedia pages?? - , so she basically came out of the womb dancing. During our shoot we talked about being bicoastal, staying sane in Las Vegas, and the meaning of that adorable swan tattoo on her foot. We can't wait to do it again!

So, you were born in California, but raised by native New Yorkers. That must have been interesting...

Interesting, yes, but very much the norm for me. We went back and forth to NYC a lot when I was a kid, and I feel like that shaped me a lot as well. I've always had a lot of family on both coasts, and felt at home both West and East. My parents brought a definite New York sensibility to their LA lifestyle, which made for fewer beach days, but the kind of cultural education I might not have had otherwise.

Describe your perfect day in New York.

Funnily enough, I just had one of those perfect NYC days a couple of weeks ago. I think you can't plan the perfect New York day, it just has to unfold as the time passes... This particular perfect day was spent with my dear friend John- we went to the Tim Burton exhibit at the MoMa (incredible), wandered the design store, wandered through the city a bit, found a place for dinner, and then walked up to Lincoln Plaza just in time to see "Broken Embraces" and then kept on walking. Perfect New York days just happen, and you have to be open to the idea that anything could be next.

And LA?

As long as there's an In-N-Out Burger or a Phillipe's French Dip in there somewhere, I'm good! Thrift shopping, people-watching, browsing through Amoeba Records, visiting with old friends. LA days have become more about making the most of my time there.

What was it like being an only child with parents in showbiz?

Pretty normal, actually- we still had dinner together at the kitchen table almost every night. My parents were never too into the Hollywood scene, which I'm grateful for. Growing up in LA, I went to school with a lot of kids who barely saw their parents because they were off in another country doing a movie or something, so I consider myself extraordinarily lucky to be part of such a close-knit family.

You write the amazingly titled blog Showgirl Godzilla. How did that start?

Haha, thanks! Showgirl Godzilla started while I was working in Vegas. I had obsessed over style blogs for awhile and toyed with the idea of starting one myself, but never actually did it. In Vegas, I was, for the first time in an awfully long time, inundated with free time. I was a little depressed (my boyfriend goes to school in the Caribbean, I had a lot of time to think about that as well as being so far away from home), and to pull myself out of it and remind myself to be grateful to be working and for the experience I was having, I started the blog. I thought it would help me to be obligated to do something every single day as well as explore my creativity outside of my field, and it did all of that and more for me.

The name comes from a twofold story- the "showgirl" part is pretty obvious, as I am a tall dancer who has been known to wear feathers on my head on more than one occasion, but "godzilla" comes from a coworker of my boyfriend's. When my boyfriend and I first started dating, apparently his coworker got sick of him always calling me "this girl I'm seeing," so he nicknamed me Godzilla, and it stuck. I also feel like an awkward monster a fair amount of the time, so it works in my regular life as well :)

What has been your experience with blogging so far?

I'm still so new to the scene, I feel like my nose is pressed up against the glass a lot! I'm amazed at the beauty and creativity and support in all these bloggers, and the wonderful community I've been staring at for so long has begun to embrace me. I love meeting people with all different styles and skill sets expressing themselves through fashion, and I can't wait to ensconce myself further in the world. It's great fun, a welcome release, and full of the sweetest people anyone could ever meet (much like yourself!). <-- [Thanks, Nikka!] :)

What is one of your favorite things about being a showgirl?

The feeling that I'm continuing a long line of people who have come before, with my own kooky version of glamour. The theatre community is just a wonderful thing to be a part of. Also, sparkly EVERYTHING! I have become a fiend for DIY rhinestone things.

Least favorite?

Hmm....I'm trying to think of something, and the only thing I can think of is trying to stay smiley and sexy when I'm PMSing and need to be on the couch with ice cream! But really, that's not even that bad. I have a couple of good falling onstage stories, those days weren't my brightest either!

So, what's the story with the swan tattoo on your foot?

Around four years ago, my life as I knew it crumbled right out from under me. I was pretty devastated, and I had to figure out what came next. I did three shows that year, and played birds or birdlike characters in two of them. Since I am a pretty obsessive researcher, I started looking into why I might continue to be cast as a bird (and not just because of the beak-nose on my face...), and started finding things talking about the molting process (here's some nerdy research on it). It doesn't happen all at once, it's kind of a pain for the bird, and it takes a lot of time and energy- but when the molt is finally complete, the bird is a better bird, a stronger flier. The swan on my foot has a few feathers coming out of it to symbolize the molting process as it relates to growing up and trying to become the person I want to be. Ugly duckling to swan, if you will...

How would you describe your personal style?

I like to say that I'm built like a cartoon superhero! I'm obsessed with Jane Birkin, Edie Sedgwick, Karen O, Chloe Sevigny, Bob Fosse, Alber Elbaz and Marc Jacobs (of course). It's an interesting mix and there are tons more, but those are the first that come to mind.

I love structure, studs, and sparkles mixed with super-feminine pieces. Details are key, as is visual interest. I like juxtaposing textures and patterns with layering and proportion. I like to mix high with low, and vintage with street style. I love thrifting, and have a twinkle in my eye to start altering and remixing my own clothes (the huge pile of dresses that need to be hemmed should start to get smaller soon, I hope). There is rarely a store I won't try out, I'm open to everything! I love statement jewelry- the more the merrier! I also have a pretty outlandish shoe collection, which just continues to grow...

What was your favorite Dusty Rose piece?

I will probably have to say the jumper- it was so much fun to wear, and I could see myself lazing around in Central Park all summer in it!

Thanks, Nikka!

A day in the eyes of UnoCosa

A few weeks ago, we had the opportunity to meet up with the inspirational blogger UnoCosa. A mix of art, fashion and philosophy, her blog details her personal experiences with the visual world.

On a cold NY afternoon, UnoCosa and Velizar made their way out to our studio in Williamsburg. They documented their journey in photos, and once inside the studio, she took several pictures of objects that spoke to her in some way. These are items we see every day. In fact, they have become so mundane that we don’t really see them at all, so it was nice to take another look through someone else’s lens.

Here are some of the photos. We don’t want to take away from her descriptions, so please check out her blog post to read about it in her own words.

It was great to talk to UnoCosa about her experience as a designer here in New York. She has a very intellectual relationship with the design process. She told us that she has to try to protect her inner-self so she can maintain her independence and creativity in our ever-more commercial and corporate world. I was personally struck by her ability to let go of the designs she had poured her heart into. She explained that, working for a commercial fashion company, she can easily loose her creative edge because of the expectation to make things in the most economic and efficient way. No matter how wonderful a design is, most likely it will not be manufactured the way it was originally designed. Rather than feeling dissatisfied by this, she makes the conscious choice to separate herself mentally to keep from getting too attached to her work. During the design stages, she pours everything into the process. She cares about each design, collection or project and gives her complete attention to every detail. But, when the designs are out of her hands they get manipulated into their final forms through the production stage, and she simply lets go of them and their fates.

UnoCosa compares designing commercial products with parenting a child. No matter how careful you are when raising a child, there is always a chance that when they fly the nest, they will live a life that you might not think is best. So, by choosing not to attach herself to the final outcome of her designs, she can preserve her energy for continuous creativity, and pursue other independent design projects, where she and her partner, Velizar, have full control from beginning to end.

Once UnoCosa started digging through the racks, we were able to truly see her unique sense of style. She put pieces together in such unexpected ways, never even needing to remove any of the clothes she came in with. She was drawn to layers and mixing colors and textures. Here you can see her mixing a heavy wool Missoni coat with a very lightweight, gauzy shirt dress and a rope belt.

And here you see her mix a very fuzzy, bright pink mohair sweater with a more neutral aqua knit dress.

And a fuzzy mohair sweater with a stunning abstract print.

This is one of the dresses we chose specifically for her because we know how much she loves black, as well as texture and form. It’s a 1960s mesh tent dress with rickrack squiggles all over. It’s one of the more breathtaking pieces we’ve had the pleasure of finding in our fifteen years of searching. And I’m pretty sure we’d be safe in assuming it was UnoCosa’s favorite piece of the day (listing pending).

It was so cool to read about her experience, so please check out her blog post about her day with us.

Thanks for the fresh perspective, UnoCosa!

CREDIT: Photographed by Velizar Iordanov. Editing by UnoCosa @ DS Art Studio.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...