Me + Dasha Zhukova = DJ Double D
That’s right, I’m coming for you Samantha Ronson and Leigh Lezark!
My friend Dasha has good ideas. In fact, she has an entire magazine called Garage that is the visual culmination of those ideas. (In addition to the magazine, she started the most important contemporary art center in Russia and is making over an entire island in the center of St. Petersburg into a museum and educational space. No big deal.) Her most recent good idea? During the New York collections, she started RadioGarage, a free, internet-only web radio show where people come and talk about, well, anything. I went on and talked about the spring trends, fashion politics and meeting Mariah Carey. Other guests have included a wide variety of folks, everyone from Martha Stewart to Giovanna Battaglia. Jefferson Hack brought a spoken word poem, Bethony Vernon gave sex tips. It’s a free for all.
Another good idea that Dasha had was for her and I to DJ at a party in Paris to celebrate the debut of RadioGarage. (I will take responsibility for coming up with the name, however.) But good ideas don’t always pan out. And it turns out that DJ’ing is, like, really hard and someone who is as easily distracted as I am cannot be burdened with such a responsibility. Not that we didn’t take it seriously. At the bottom of this post, after I throw up some pictures of some of the people who came to support my radio debut, I’m going to list some of the songs that Dasha and I played at the party. Yeah, we were pretty all over the place. Feel free to leave additional party songs in the comments because, hey, you never know, maybe I’ll DJ again. (But probably not.) And check out www.GarageMag.com for the rest of Paris fashion week for more from GarageRadio.
Julia and Eugenie
Two Olivier’s: Balmain’s Olivier Rousteing and Theory’s Olivier Theyskens
Jonathan and Ronnie Newhouse with Dasha
Anna Dello Russo, who’s song ‘Fashion Shower’ needs to hurry up and get on iTunes so it’s easier for us DJ’s to play, with actual DJ Leigh Lezark
Alison Mosshart is in a band called the Kills, which sort of made my amateur attempts at music styling even more ridiculous. Here she is with Cara, who is just ridiculous
Family portraits: Rodge, Sklyer and Rachel with THE DJ Double D
Hubba hubba, fellas: Brian, Trey and Dr. Jake
Rachel and Bianca. (FYI: Bianca Brandolini just joined Twitter! Follow her at: @1bianca_b)
Me and Arizona at the new bar at Le Bristol
A random selection of DJ Double D’s greatest hits
‘Let’s Have A Kiki’ by the Scissor Sisters [Eds. note: Which would come as no surprise to anyone who reads this blog]
‘The Boys’ by Nikki Minaj and Cassie
‘How Many Licks’ by Lil Kim
‘California Love’ by Tupac
’212′ by Azealia Banks
‘Stand Back’ by Fleetwood Mac
‘Stars Are Blind’ by Paris Hilton
‘Single Ladies’ by Beyonce
‘Dick in a Box’ by Justin Timberlake
‘Barbie song’ by Aqua
‘Wannabe’ by the Spice Girls
‘Starships’ by Nikki Minaj
‘Everybody Dance Now’ by C+C Music Factory
‘Can’t Touch This’ by MC Hammer
‘The Thong Song’ by Sisqo
It’s very easy to get caught up in the fashion bubble. In the past three weeks, I’ve shuttled between New York, London and Milan for fashion shows and accessories appointments (and I’m flying to Paris in a matter of hours, but who’s counting?). While I have no problem admitting that I find it to be a gratifying experience, I can’t help but also have some American guilt that I’m missing out on the political free-for-all that will be the next election. Good thing, then, that for a couple of days when I was back in New York, my Tivo was full of The Daily Show episodes, which is my number one source of political news. (What? I think Jon Stewart is funny and handsome, and that’s how I like my news delivered.)
On a recent episode he went on off, and I mean went off, on Mitt Romney. Culturally, socially and even mathematically, he skewered the guy. It was all part of a segment called ‘Chaos on Bullshit Mountain,’ which I’ve posted above. I stumbled upon this at about the same time that I found an article in an old issue of the New York Post where Cindy Adams (Did you see it? It’s quite amusing) reported that Kato Kailin, the C-list actor who lived with OJ Simpson and helped acquit him from the charge of double murder in the most sensational trial of the 1990s, admitted Simpson’s guilt. I couldn’t help but think back to that time. I was so young, so impressionable, and so disillusioned with the American judicial system. What Jon Stewart is always preaching on his show, and indeed in this video, is that we should have more faith in our government, which is a lesson I learned from my father, who has had no faith in the government. He found the whole OJ Simpson trial a social injustice, and as his son, I felt the same way. I’ve had a shaky believe in the morals of all government officials ever since.
I believe Jon Stewart. I believe what he says here. And I actually do believe that Barack Obama has tried his best to instill the faith of the American people into his office. At the end of the day, what I want from a president is transparency and a genuine commitment to making the lives of we Americans better. Something without, as Stewart points out, a bunch of bullshit. (I also thought it was pretty epic how Obama got bin Laden. Have you read the New Yorker’s recounting of the raid? It’s even more amazing than Kato. And I will actually read that book that recounts it from the bigmouth Marine’s point of view too.) I understand the Republican point of view. I’m from Missouri, I have Republicans in my family. And while I want to pay less taxes, keep more of my hard earned money, and shoot guns in the air to proclaim my American nationalism, that Romney guy has become his own worst enemy. His own punching bag. I lost all hope when he went on television with that bad bronzing job.
All this isn’t to say that I’m so anti-Republican that I don’t mind a little Barack bashing too. Quite the contrary: I have my qualms with our current president too, and I enjoy a good leveling on both side of the isles. I’m not opposed to handsome, funny men criticizing Barack Obama. On Saturday night, Seth Meyers slated Obama on SNL’s Weekend Update with accurate, poignant observations about some of his political shortcoming. (I’d embed that, but it wasn’t on Youtube and I’m not tech savvy enough to figure out NBC’s website. But it’s there if you look for it.) That reminds me: Weekend Update is upping its coverage for the election. I’ll have to remember to set my Tivo so I can catch up when I’m back from Paris. But, until then, Happy Fashion Weeking.
Joan Smalls is big time now. I first met the Puerto Rican beauty after her first trip down the runway on a Givenchy couture exclusive, which, even though we didn’t know it at the time, was about to change her life. Riccardo Tisci’s casting transformed the lovely, funny little lady from a catalog girl to a supermodel powerhouse. Now she’s on the cover of magazines (like this issue of Harper’s Bazaar UK, which I interviewed her for), on the world’s best runways and even locked in a cosmetics contract with Estee Lauder. So, it was nice to catch up with this fabulous lady. Read our chat below.
At heart, Joan Smalls, the 24-year-old Puerto Rican supermodel on course for world domination (she is currently ranked the second most successful model in the world) is just a fun-loving island girl. In fact, when we meet for cranberry juice (she doesn’t drink alcohol) in New York’s Chelsea, the only piece of jewellery she wears is a gold necklace with ‘Joanji’ written in a graffiti script and diamonds. ‘It’s been my nickname since I was a little girl,’ says Smalls, whose skin is cinnamon-coloured and who smiles with bright, dancing eyes. ‘It’s what they still call me when I go home.’ Hers is a tale of triumph through determination.
Smalls grew up with her parents and two sisters on a small farm in the town of Hatillo. She entered local modelling competitions in Puerto Rico, but never won because, she says, ‘I was told I was too tall, too thin and too dark.’ Finally, she made it to New York where, armed with a list of the best agencies, she pounded the pavements. But Smalls found herself a frustrated catalogue model until Givenchy’s Riccardo Tisci (now a close friend and diehard fan) booked her exclusively for his haute couture show in 2010. Campaigns for Gucci, Stella McCartney, Roberto Cavalli, Lacoste and Chanel followed. Looking back to that Givenchy catwalk, Smalls says she knew that her life was about to change. ‘I was like, “This is my time. This is my moment to shine.”’ She’s still shining.
Derek Blasberg I want to start with something I don’t think you get enough recognition for: this girl can dance!
Joan Smalls Oh, yes she can! Being Puerto Rican, you come out
of the womb dancing! It’s a mix of so many cultures: African
tribal rhythm, the salsa, the reggaeton.
DB Did you go out dancing a lot when you were younger?
JS I went out all the time. My sister is older than me, but we look alike so she would give me her ID. This is back in Puerto Rico, so all the bouncers were my sister’s friends, and they would take care of me.
DB What was growing up in Puerto Rico like?
JS I grew up on a farm. We had our own banana-trees, mango-trees, orange-trees, avocado-trees, and so many different animals. Peacocks, chickens, ducks, pigs, dogs… There was this turkey
that would attack me when I was a kid. My father told me I had to stick up for myself,
so one day I picked up a rock and hit him with it.
DB That’s a good life lesson.
JS It was. That turkey got mean again, so eventually he went to the neighbours’ house –
and they ate him. That’s what happens when you mess with me!
DB What were you like as a little girl?
JS I was the tomboy. I was always getting messy, falling down and scratching my
knees. We sisters were always close-knit and protective of each other. It’s still like that
now, and I think that’s what keeps me strong in this business. It’s easy to get lost
in New York, but having my family is what kept me out of trouble. I always knew
I could call home.
DB That’s another thing that comes to mind when I think of you: determination.
JS This industry isn’t like others. If you go to school and study, you know you’ll get good grades and graduate. But with modelling you don’t entirely control your own destiny.
It’s up for grabs. You have no sense of security, and that can scare many people.
DB Have you had tough moments?
JS I have dealt with adversity from people I thought were on my side. Past agents, when
I would come to them for advice, would just tell me: ‘There’s only room for one.’
DB One what?
JS One girl of colour.
JS Yes. I had come for encouragement and I was given an excuse. It was disappointing. Little by little, my hopes were going down. I remember calling my dad after a tough time in Paris when I was going to casting after casting where they wouldn’t even look at my book. I was sitting on a bench on the Champs-Elysées, and starting to cry. I’m a strong person; I don’t like to show my emotions, especially to strangers on the street. My father told me to keep my head up high and do my best. And he was right.
DB What is it like to be the first Latina face at Estée Lauder?
JS Amazing. When I was starting, Estée Lauder was the pinnacle. It was far-fetched, but
it was my goal. And I got it.
DB What did you do when you got the call?
JS I was in Milan and I had just finished the Versace show and went back to my room.
Then my manager Kyle called me. He said: ‘Joan, I think it’s a go.’ I still get goosebumps when I think about it. I had 10 minutes to myself, and I broke
down. I prayed. I gave thanks to God. Then maybe I jumped on
the bed for a little bit.
DB I was with Naomi Campbell when it was announced that
you would be the first black girl in a Chanel campaign, and she
said she was going to email you.
JS She did! It was such a short, sweet message: ‘We are all proud
of you. We are all rooting for you.’ To have someone you look
up to and who has been a fashion icon since you were a child respond to what you do – it was a flattering moment.
DB Your career changed when you met Riccardo Tisci. How did that happen?
JS My agency sent Givenchy some pictures for a couture show,
and they said they’d like to see me. Before I went, my agent sat
me down and said: ‘This is a gamble. You’re going to put up your own money
[for the travel expenses] and think of it as an investment. It could work out, or it could
not.’ I had been waiting for that moment long enough, so I decided to do it. I went to
the casting, I walked for him, and as I left my Paris agent called me and said: ‘Joan,
don’t go to any more castings, because you’re on the Givenchy exclusive.’ It was one
of those moments when you just know your life is about to change.
DB He [Tisci] told me he went home to Puerto Rico with you.
JS Yes, he did. I remember my dad was talking to him so much; I had to move him away! He was just so happy to meet this man who had done so much for his daughter.
DB What’s the craziest job you’ve had?
JS Probably Chanel’s spring campaign. It was shot in Cap d’Antibes, and I had to pose
on this diving platform hung over the sea – at least I can swim. So Karl is taking the
pictures from a boat and I decide to go for it. I shove my leg through this armhole, and
I’m doing the splits in this Chanel dress, 20 metres over the water. But you know what?
I wanted this for so long – fear goes out the door.
DB What was the first thing you did when you started making some money?
JS Saving it.
DB You didn’t have one extravagance?
JS I wanted to give back to my parents because they had made so many sacrifices for my sisters and me. So I bought my father
a pick-up truck. My mum’s biggest dream was to remodel her
kitchen. When we were kids, she would save up money and then
an emergency would come up. Mothers always put themselves last. So last year, I got my mum the kitchen she always wanted.
DB What challenges are left for you?
JS I want a fragrance contract.
DB You want your own fragrance?
JS No, I meant a fragrance campaign. But now that you say it, you never know.
DB Do it. Here’s your tagline: Smell Small, Feel Big!
JS Can we copyright that right now? I want to be on Forbes’ list, too. I want to become a businesswoman. Look at Heidi Klum, Gisele Bündchen, Cindy Crawford, Tyra Banks. These women have made their own paths, starting from modelling.
DB Is that all?
JS I want to take over the world. I want people to look at me
and say: ‘Oh wow, that girl is doing something.’
I have nothing against Milan. I love Italians and Italian style as much as the next guy. But I will admit that I’ve always felt a little smug about skipping out on the Milan shows. I do the shows in New York and London, then basically sleep for five straight days, and then go to Paris refreshed and ready for action. (My friends who do London, Milan and Paris all in a row all hate me for this, by the way.) But for Katie Grand, I’ll make an exception. For the bunny loving and forever amusing Katie Grand, I’ll suck it up and come to Milan. I wasn’t the only one who made the pilgrimage either: More friends, including Giles, Jonathan Saunders, Pixie Geldolff and Dree Hemingway, all came over too. We were there to celebrate her new collection with Hogan. I cohosted the launch party with Hogan’s Andrea Della Valle and Katie in an old garden where Leonardo Da Vinci grew his vegetables and we had cocktails and danced until the wee hours.
Katie with Jonathan Saunders and Pixie Geldolf in the DJ booth
I think I met my favorite new person in the whole world: Abbey Clancy. She gave a legendary performance on the dance floor and the things that came out of her mouth were fan-tas-tic. As was her husband, the footballer Peter Crouch, the blonde one in this photo with my Danish friend Anders
Dasha and Shala
A fun lass from Down Under: Melissa George
The lovely Cara Delevingne with some of the glasses that Katie included in her Hogan collection
Two of my favorite Milanese ladies, Margherita Missoni and Coco Brandolini
Katie’s boys: Me, Anders, Giles and Jonathan. (Please note: Jonny is not actually that short. Well, he’s short. But not that short.)
The view of the party. Da Vinci gardened here!
Anna Dello Russo, the queen of Italian style, with me on the dance floor. (That reminds me: Have you seen the video for her H+M collaboration? It’s ridiculous.)
The problem with a garden party? High heel sinkage. But by the end of the night, most of the girls had ditched their shoes… including Katie!
Bistrotheque’s David Waddington with Charlotte Stockdale outside the Principe de Savoia, which is where we went for more merriment. (But, luckily for everyone, I had put my camera way.)