This season’s ad campaign represents a series of connected events; a visual narrative. It is a personal diary of people who have and continue to inspire me and open my mind to different ways of seeing and thinking. The spectrum of individuals photographed in our Spring/Summer 2016 ad campaign represent a celebration of my America. In collaboration with photographer David Sims and stylist Katie Grand, the people featured in our campaign personify this collection of fashion through their individuality. Collectively, they embody and celebrate the spirit and beauty of equality. It is with an overwhelmingly full heart that I share this first portrait of our Spring/Summer 2016 ad campaign. Lana Wachowski. I was first introduced to Lana via YouTube in December 2012. The speech Lana gave to accept the Human Rights Campaign, Visibility Award, (October 20, 2012) was utterly profound in its script and her articulate, brilliant and timeless delivery. She expressed thoughts and ideas that have filled my head and heart always but had never been so eloquently captured in language that was so tangible, intelligent, poignant and full of possibility. I found myself referencing Lana’s words in my daily life and sharing her speech with close friends. In the days before our Spring/Summer ‘16 fashion show and through a fateful series of communications, much to my incomprehensible delight, Lana accepted an invitation to our show in New York City and thus I took her, “fashion show virginity.” Lana’s ineffable beauty captured by David in this portrait reminds me of the personal sentiment she shared with me about, “learning you can make important friends at anytime in your life.”
I first saw Sandra Bernhard in the 1982 film, “The King of Comedy,” and was in absolute awe of her cynicism, sarcastic wit and unfiltered in-your-faceness. Her sense of humor, comedic timing and brilliant irreverence has always been so admiringly bold. Sandra’s comedic consciousness, integrity and genuineness is harsh, hard and authentic. This portrait of my friend Sandra by David Sims -styled by Katie Grand – for our SS16 ad campaign perfectly captures her acerbic vocal styling, pure intensity and punchy rhythm. @sandragbernhard
What a privilege it is to know your heroes. My earliest memory of Bette Midler was somewhere around the age of nine years old. I remember (at that young precocious age) hearing about her performances in the basement of the Ansonia Hotel’s, Continental Baths. I vividly remember the genuine excitement and love I had for Bette’s music. I was curious and excited by her energy, power and the exuberance in her voice and bold, brassy glamour. To this day, I still credit Bette Midler (unbeknownst to her) with a large part of my foray into fashion design. At age ten when I discovered the image drawn by Richard Amsel for her album cover, I was so instantly enamored by the silhouetted Bette in a black dress wearing platform sandals with a wedge of red curly hair that I recreated it on the back of a jean jacket with acrylic paint and embroidery floss and proudly wore it to school. The onset of the spring/summer 2016 season began with my interest in the pride of being an American, however, I have always maintained that I’m a New Yorker above all else, a different breed entirely – one whom at nine years old is aware of the Continental Baths and more importantly the sexy, glamorous and sublime, Bette Midler. After a conversation with Katie Grand about New York nostalgia she had recommended a documentary on the BBC that profiled Bette throughout her career and New York City. While I have always felt a certain connection with and influence by Bette, the moment that struck me so profoundly was a statement she made about her footprints from the past disappearing as she retraced old haunts of her once familiar New York. It all felt so relevant and apropos of the pieces of the yet-to-be collection that lay before me weeks before the show. It reminded me of the pride I felt in having the privilege of calling myself a born and raised New Yorker. To her beauty, her brass, her glamour. To that energy, vitality, verve, nerve and curve… I’m so happy to share this beautiful portrait by David Sims. Ladies and Gentleman, the Divine Miss M!