Here's how we appear on the cover of the December 2014 issue of Fashion Decode. Just about the best early Christmas present we could ever ask for!
For the December issue, we were interviewed way back in October. Then, on the first Sunday in November, we were photographed for the magazine. Little did we know it was a cover shoot. Our day started in the morning at photographer Rahimian Payam's sunny, immaculate and highly edited apartment just north of 14th Street. It was filled with photography books and photos. Known professionally as Payam (in the grand tradition of one-name professionals and celebrities like Cher and Madonna), he is mellow, creative and thoughtful, with an impish streak. Check out his work and his website here. His walls were decorated with photographs, posters and paintings (some of which you can spot in the background of the photos.) Did I mention how thoughtful he is? He made coffee and tea for everyone while we went through our last-minute prep. He's holding one of the props for the shoot. Payam is a very zen guy and doubles as a yoga instructor. He's currently in California until March indulging in that avocation.
Writer Johnny Cassanova and Fashion Decode Editor Faustina Rose consult on the article and the shoot. Note that everyone is either barefoot or in socks in deference to Payam's no-shoe policy. (See, we told you he was zen.) We first met Faustina at Lincoln Center at Mercedes Benz NY Fashion Week a couple years ago and run into her constantly at fashion events around town. We have blogged about her in several posts (here, here, and here). We met Johnny through Faustina. Both favor a striking short black and white hairdo (a la Disney's Cruella de Ville) and when they are together, they are a formidable fashion statement. For our interview about a month earlier, Johnny joined us for brunch at B Bar Grill in the East Village (one of our favorite haunts). We chatted and ate before getting down to the business of the interview. He'd ask each of us the same question, and then riff off of our responses with follow-up questions, until getting back to his main line of questioning. It was very low key, free flowing and friendly. He taped the conversation on his iPhone. Afterward, we strolled across town to Beacon's Closet before eventually veering off to our own planetary rotations. Check out his article and let us -- and Johnny -- know what you think.
Logan Greenwood showed us why she and her peers are called makeup ARTISTS. She used the natural morning light from the south facing window to do Valerie's makeup.
Valerie models the very rosy red exaggerated lips and defined brows and smoky eyes, courtesy of Mademoiselle Logan. Outside her usual red lipstick, Valerie is a makeup minimalist (not anti- - just really lazy), so this was an interesting experiment. For laughs, Valerie's been wanting to do the big eyebrows that have come back with a vengeance. (For those of you young enough to think big eyebrows are new, look at some early Audrey Hepburn pictures.) These aren't Cara Delevigne big, but they're a step in that direction.
Check out how the more dramatic makeup pumps up the volume when Valerie adds her hat (it doesn't hurt that it's a Schiaparelli) -- and attitude! (Jean says: Doesn't this look like a Richard Avedon image? Valerie says: Where's my elephant?)
Here's Logan, after working her magic on Jean. (Gorgeous, oui? We're taking about Logan, not Jean.) Although she does her own makeup and did a lot of Logan's work for her, Jean admittedly also earned a lot about highlighting -- and defining eyebrows. Logan also chose a different red lipstick -- one with more blue than Jean's usual shade -- which really worked with our black and white and black and grey themes -- and the poster in the background.
And then the completion of the costume. Jean is wearing a black and white felt cloche with bakelite buttons and black and white wooden beaded necklace she commissioned from artist and milliner Carol Markel.
The Brain Trust! Johnny, Faustina and Payam confer on the locations in relation to each of our two outfits and make some last minute decisions after seeing our wardrobe selections.
To be in sync with the updated plans, we changed our hats and quickly decamped. On First Avenue, we hailed two taxis to take the whole crew to Times Square, where we rendezvoused with Phil, the lighting assistant.
Everybody had more than one job. Payam had to scout out locations, work out the lighting, and direct us when we took our places. Faustina took responsibility for carrying our things and keeping track of where each person was and where we should stand. Johnny had to round up three Elmos and Cookie Monsters AND carry the balloons for the next part of the shoot.
What was the result of this amazing team effort? Judge for yourself!
Once we'd finished the first part of the shoot, we took refuge in a nearby hotel for a near-complete costume change, with the exception of our coats.
And of course it's always a treat to get one's makeup touched up by an expert.
Payam was planning to pair Jean with a hot dog vendor as part of the shoot, but the vendor wasn't quite as keen on the idea. Ever resourceful, Payam immediately came up with a change of plan, and took us downtown. (OK. Just check out all the colors in this photograph: the yellow taxi; the red and white truck; the red, yellow, blue, green and orange on the cart and the umbrellas. So black and white really was a good choice on our part!)
Off we went, down into the city's subway system to Union Square Station, with Payam at our side.
And the rest of the team: On the left is Phil, who was in charge of the huge light umbrella. Johnny managed to squeeze the giant bag of balloons through the subway doors before they slammed shut. Faustina is giving stage direction.
Finally, the balloons were freed of their constraints (well, most of their constraints). We took directions pretty well, but the balloons were harder to control. If you've ever been on a subway platform, you know how the trains stir up quite a breeze as they enter and leave the station ... from opposite tracks ... at the same time. Truth be told, NO balloons were harmed in the shoot. (When we were finished for the day, we gave them away to some very happy children.)
Multimedia simulcast! Us -- on camera and on cell phone.
The yellow subway station pillars added a great color contrast to the balloons and our graphic coats. Payam, on Jean's right, works with the lights and the very mobile balloons.
Trains and passengers added to the mayhem and the fun. And of course, New Yorkers took it all in stride, rushing past us to their destinations.
The day before, the weather had been miserable. Although it remained cold on the day of our shoot, the sun shone non-stop, so we tried another outdoor shoot, this time just above ground in the park at Union Square.
Before we broke up for the day, we had to get an overhead shot of Faustina and Johnny and their black and white haircuts.
It was like being Queen for a Day -- without the washing machine! (Readers of a certain age will get the reference.) Faustina, Payam, Logan, Johnny and Phil were witty, funny and incredibly upbeat, and yet also incredibly professional and efficient. It was over almost too soon. We have some wonderful memories, and there are gorgeous photographs and great article on the worldwide web. (Oh, in case you're wondering, the inscription on the frame of Jean's glasses says: "Cross my heart ... and hope to die ... stick a needle ... in my eye".) Ciao, sweeties!