Peter Smith in a Paul Smith ad
It seems that autumn magazine ads these days are all about S&M widows, or models in fake artists studios (the painter’s palette reworked by the make-up artist), when they don’t simply mimic, at the photographer’s command, a violent orgasm produced by a new perfume or hand-bag.
That’s why I was stunned the other day to see my friend Peter Smith in a Paul Smith ad, staring out with reasonable and limited excitement at the viewer from the pages of Wallpaper magazine.
Peter lives in London, and with Andrew Hale does the music for the Paul Smith shows. In the ad Peter looks normal. You can trace on his face all the music he has been listening to, and he is not trying to have the crazy wild actor look of some young dudes in the same situation.
We share a common interest for sad songs, and sometimes for fun Peter would email me one, and I try to email him back a sadder one, but he always win. Of course, what is really sad is not to know the girl who stands modestly in the back of the ad. I believe her name is Valerija Kelava. She looks less futile and more thoughtful than most models, but may be it’s at Sir Paul Smith’s command.
London Women’s Show Music Listing (Music production by Peter Smith and Andrew Hale):
1. Nico – All Tomorrow’s Parties
2. Vitamin String Quartet – All Tomorrow’s Parties
3. Yawn – candle
4. The Kills – Heart is a Beating Drum
5. Lykke Li – Youth Knows No Pain
6. Little Dragon – Nightlight.
7. Yawn – Magician
Finale: Rolling stones – She’s a Rainbow
Out of boredom on a recent Saturday afternoon, I was trying out some pants at Supreme when when my friend Victoire called to ask if I wouldn’t mind accompanying her to the party being given by Barneys for Carine Roitfeld.
A few minutes latter, as I was walking with renewed energy on Lafayette Street, she called again : « they want to know what our favorite songs are, it’s karaoke ! »
Had I gone to Tokyo at least 15 times and always successfully avoided karaoke parties to finally get trapped into one in NY ? Is there a more depressing scene than drunks trying to read the upcoming lyrics on a TV screen to blaring 80s hits ?
But of course, as masterminded by Carine, it was going to be something else, and with high anticipation we made our approach to Westway, the former strip-club, where the party was happening.
Limousines were jammed on Clarkson street, and squads of it girls and models on high heels were carefully navigating the cobble stones, exposing their million dollars legs to the outdoors spotlights.
It turned out to be the most professional karaoke event one could witness. The Fashion people all hit the stage – which looks rather like a catwalk – with stunning confidence. Not only they never sang out of tune, but they could dance across the stage back and forth, and do all the things performers do like pointing at the crowd, and probably pole dancing as well.
A cross-disciplinary talent that you could hardly imagine among true rock stars who usually show a lack of expertise when it comes down to Fashion : shiny jackets with wide shoulders, leather pants, etc…
The flashes on iphones burnt out during Anna della Russo’s number
The Italians were especially good. Even the cynical fashion assistants have to change their minds when they realized their most feared celebrities were showing genuine warmth, good humor, and sincere emotions. Everybody sensed a historical moment when Valentino’s rendition of « My Way » almost one-upped Sinatra’s Vegas version.
As we left the party and walked along the West Side Highway with imagined scenes of endless rehearsals in burgundy bathrobes late at night in the privacy of the hotel’s palace suite, a small anonymous car overloaded with men suddenly pulled along the sidewalk. All the doors opened at once and the passengers bursted out like undercover policemen about to seize somebody.
A young lad in a torn tee-shirt ran out of the car to take refuge against a wall, where he theatrically faced his pursuers. Among the gang’s sinister faces we were relieved to recognize Terry Richardson’s, thanks to his plaid shirt and signature moustache, this time he didn’t had his thumbs up but was aiming his Powershot at the young actor.
Terry immediately started to fire flashes at his subject, who obligingly gave varied poses.
It seemed the complete New York Fashion scene had decided to unfold in just one night.