Interview with Vesta Lugg and Kel Calderon
Trekking down the streets of New York City through the chilly February weather I finally arrive at Epistrophy Cafe in Nolita. I would meet with two inspirational women after a long day of NYFW shows. Walking through the doors, I am greeted with warm embraces and beaming smiles. Vesta Lugg and Kel Calderon are two of the most caring, humble, mighty, intelligent woman who have inspired young girls like me to follow my artistic passions through hard work, love, and dedication. Settling down in the back with the roar of my cappuccino in the making while the girls share a Japanese cocktail we talk about anything and everything. From Vesta’s love of superheroes to Kel’s badass lawyer life. I got to learn about the ladies behind the cameras. I learned about the messages they like to platform and influence upon their audience. “I think its super healthy that young boys and girls know there is nothing wrong with supporting the people around you,” says Vesta. “Now thanks to social media everyone can have a platform,” says Kel. I was honestly so impressed and grounded by how much these girls care for their fans and how they implement so much love and passion into their work. We talked about how girls should bring each other up; it's the time for women. The energy of the interview was so beautiful and raw I had to share it in a video instead of text. Please check out the interview and meet my two new friends, Vesta Lugg and Kel Calderon.
Denude Magazine is an independent printed publication for the honest, intelligent and thoughtful woman. With a modern minalmislistic approach at style, authentic and whole conversations with the woman of today, highlighting cherished products, I present to you Denude's approach on the timeless woman and what they have to say....
How did denude magazine begin?
Denude Magazine began out of my own belief that the fashion media wasn’t serving a segment of the fashion industry that I wanted to see in a magazine. I wanted to see pieces about and interviews with brands and women that I knew nothing about, fashion designers that were authentic and beautiful and thinkers who were caring and honest. The talent I saw in magazines were determined by social followings. Denude Magazine began as a quiet alternative to this, away from any hype of what is ‘new or cool’ – I don’t believe in hype, I believe in talent and women that create because that is what they love doing, it’s what they believe in and it’s what they want to tell the world. I find that is what betters the fashion industry. I like consideration.
Do you have a schedule or routine when writing articles or generally working on the magazine?
We don’t’ share online articles or writing, which is a conscious decision – many magazine outlets have a stream of infinite content online, and it is not necessary. We do not need to be constantly buying clothes or items to enjoy fashion – which is what mainstream (sponsored by adverts) magazines tell and sell us. Therefore, Denude Magazine take the approach that when ideas are fully formed for the magazine (it has been since its inception one copy a year), that the magazine will be made. Denude is always on my mind – how I can make the magazine better, how the next issue can be our best and how we can incorporate as many incredible women and ideas as possible into 250 pages.
What are the messages or ideas you like to platform towards the magazine's audience?
Denude communicates primarily a message of slow fashion – highlighting women within the industry who communicate unique and considered messages. The message we put to our audience is that fashion should be an enjoyable part of our lives, and that we shouldn’t feel it necessary to buy a countless number of clothes, because not only is it damaging to the environment, it is not necessary to buy more to be stylish. Adding to the wardrobe over a slow amount of time, considering what we buy, and what it means is very important to us – we want to make people think. We question industry leaders, upcoming designers and artists about why they create their work - and what they want women to feel like upon wearing their clothes or pieces and even what they want women to feel when they look at their work (artwork). I want Denude to communicate to its reader that being thoughtful is beautiful and that learning about what surrounds fashion is important. We inform readers of the behind the scenes work that women are creating. We communicate that intelligence is sexy - that is of the utmost importance to us. The Denude woman is strong, thoughtful and uncompromised. We want her to feel like she is growing with Denude.
If Denude Magazine could describe a woman in 6 words….
Considered, intelligent, beautiful, honest, subtle and sexy.
What concepts have been influencing you lately?
Many things, but for the next part of Denude, we have been looking to:
Many, many things. On a conceptual level, scent is inspiring to me - what it means to us, how it evokes the most beautiful memories, and helps us to create memories that align with our senses in a certain moment. On this level, I also find the process of becoming something other than what we are inspiring, challenging ourselves to create, become and explore a different part of ourselves – whether this through trying a new look, or by realising what we are meant to be doing and discovering who we should surround ourselves with. All of this is related to originality, becoming who we are meant to be and doing what we were born to do.
In a more literal sense, the colours beige and brown have been of influence to me. As well as vintage clothes from the 1980s, the work of Ellsworth Kelly and Judy McKie. I have also been looking to past and modern jewellery makers, particularly of signet rings and their shapes. The concept of new French romanticism and sexiness is also inspiring me, I am looking to the wave of new French it girls, that are redefining what it means to be sexy. This sexiness inspires me – sexiness that is pared down.
I am a romantic too, so love always inspires me – seeing modern couples communicating, and how another person can influence the way we dress and who we can become. I am interested in human interaction, and why that is so important in everyday life.
A favorite scent? (At this moment in time or an all time)
Diptyque’s Oud Palao, Tom Ford’s Fleur de Chine, as well as the smell of fresh roses in water.
A photoshoot essential?
Vintage shoes! Particularly French vintage shoes.
What are some key items we should be wearing this season?
A.P.C.’s Hiver 87 T-shirt.
A grey box fit blazer – Sandro do the most fantastic blazers.
Vintage 90s Gucci sandals, or a pair of vintage high heeled sandals in gold or green.
Levi’s 501 jeans, cut just above the ankle.
A gold man’s Darwin bracelet, even better if borrowed from your boyfriend.
Signet rings – one on each hand.
A classic Hermès belt or a statement black and gold belt.
Vintage dresses of a three quarter length, in a flirtatious pattern.
A bodysuit from The Bodysuit of Barcelona.
An Isabel Marant bomber, for the days you want to feel effortless.
Realisation Par’s Bianca in navy and white.
What can we look forward to seeing with denude in the near or far future?
Denude is at the moment looking to work that is created with timelessness in mind, as we always do. Mostly the work we are considering for the next issue works with clean lines and simple patterns involved. I am currently fascinated by the many women I see on the Internet and around me who are carving careers based on taste and curation. With these two things in mind, our next issue is going to be our most special yet, as it’ll be an issue released at a time when we are very ready to put the idea of refinement equalling taste forward. The next issue will be sophisticated and it’ll be an issue that’s made when Denude is at its strongest. Our next issue is coming within the next year, but it’s more than an issue, that’s why it is taking longer to form. In the far future, Denude will still be with me, and I very much hope it’ll be with the women who read it too. Denude means to strip something of its covering, possessions, or assets, therefore in the future we will always try to decode what style is at that very moment in time.
Thank you Laurie for the lovely interview!
Nevia Pavletic is a visual artist, photographer, and in general beautiful human being from Croatia. Here I present you Nevia's process, choices, and love...
If you could tell a little bit about your background.
I am a self-taught artist, and I began creating art about two years ago (September 2015). At the time, I had just finished graduate school (cultural anthropology), and I was feeling very uncertain and anxious about my future. Although I enjoyed anthropology as a discipline, in my heart, I knew that art was the path that I needed to pursue—no matter how intimidating or uncertain it seemed.
The decision to pursue art felt so natural to me. It’s almost as if I didn’t have a choice in the matter. Every bone and cell in my body encouraged me to create. I spent the next year immersed in art. I spent hours each day experimenting with techniques and styles until I felt confident that I had found my artistic language. As I began to share my creations on Instagram, I slowly began to receive inquiries from art collectors and other creatives who were seeking to collaborate with me. As a self-taught artist with no connection to the art industry, this attention was very encouraging and rewarding and helped me gain confidence in myself as an artist.
What lead you to art?
There are several forces that propelled me to pursue art. In part, I think that I was looking for a way to express emotions and feelings that I could not communicate with language. I have always had the sense that I experience the world differently than my peers, and art was a way for me to nurture these inner parts of myself that I had neglected in the process of getting caught up with the expectations of contemporary social life. Art for me has become a way to communicate with the world around me, and intimately connect with the subjective experience of being human.
Also, I am immensely attracted to beauty, aesthetics, and good design. Creating and enjoying objects of beauty brings great joy, fulfillment, and purpose to my life. I am always chasing after beautiful things and moments, whether I am working in my studio, listening to a beautiful song, or exploring daily life with my film camera.
What is your creative process and how does it begin?
My creative process is very intuitive. I don’t plan or sketch out my ideas beforehand. Rather, I begin with an emotion or feeling—usually both—that has been lingering inside of me. Lately, I have been preoccupied with the feeling of fragility, as I have become acutely aware of how extremely fragile and innocent life is. This observation makes me sad, but it also inspires and a deep sense of love and joy for everything around me. My drawings communicate these feelings and emotions through abstraction, via line, color, and form.
Are there any materials that tend to be essential when creating?
Have you noticed these materials evolve, and if so do the materials you use at this present moment mean something specific to you?
Good paper is essential to my work. I love the paper that has a slightly rough texture, and that comes in unique, organic tones. I am particularly fond of handmade papers, because each sheet is unique and has interesting variations in color. Lately, I have noticed that I am becoming more drawn to vibrant colors of paper (e.g., bright yellows, reds, and blues) rather than the usual earthy tones I had been accustomed to. I am not quite sure yet what this change in color palette means, but I am sure there is some underlying significance that with revealing itself sooner or later.
(Finish the sentence) Regarding color, your palette is...
Harmonious, dreamy, and organic.
Tell us about your travels and how they have influenced you?
I travel to my home country (Croatia) every summer, and for the past several years the trip has made me think more deeply about death and the passing of time. Each time I visit, I notice my grandparents getting older, and the places that were once so familiar to me are slowly changing. I usually stay in my grandparents’ flat, which is right next to the hospital I was born in. So it is a strange experience for me; the juxtaposition of birth and death provokes many anxieties within me, as it reminds me of my mortality and the impermanence of all matter. The years seem to pass by faster as I age, so every summer I become more aware of how time has made its mark on the people and places that I love. My anxiety about death is a feeling that I struggle with personally, but it has also inspired me as an artist. The passing of time, birth/death cycles, and the mysteriousness of existence are central themes of my work.
What narratives do you like to tell with your art?
Through my art, I hope to communicate the richness of my inner world that I am otherwise unable to communicate through conventional forms of communication. I think that most art serves this purpose. It gives the viewer deep insight into the subjective experiences of the artist. Art communicates the most intimate and private aspects of ourselves. In my view, it is the most sincere and thorough method of inquiry into the human condition. Art is, ultimately, autobiographical.
Where can we see your work in the coming months?
I am currently in the process of consigning my work to a gallery, the details of which I will be able to share with you in the coming months. I hope that this opportunity will introduce my work to a wider audience, and open the door for more collaboration opportunities in the coming years.
Lastly, if you could put together a playlist inspired by where you are at in life right now, that would be lovely.
1) Althea and Donna - Uptown Top Ranking
2) Claude Debussy – Clair de Lune
3) Cat Stevens – Moon Shadow
4) Buena Vista Social Club – Chan Chan
5) Jasna Zlokic – Skitnica
6) The Gladiators – Chatty Chatty Mouth
7) The Beatles – Let it Be
8) Pedro Infante – Las mañanitas
9) Manu Chao – Bong Bong
New York City-based intimate designers, Marissa and Lauren have given me and several others the opportunity of having a stress free bra experience. They're pieces mold to your body, a sexy yet thoughtful bra. I send my love to these women who have changed the way I get to feel from morning to night, no restrictions, no awkward 'rearranging my bra' moments, a new way to give ourselves some love and support.
"Here’s to feeling amazing in your own skin - no frills or fluff required."
- Marissa & Lauren
Please tell us a bit about your background.
Lauren and I met freshman year in college at UPenn – we became fast friends, certainly in part because of our shared love for fashion. I think we both look at personal style as an opportunity for creative self-expression. Fashion is captivating – it has the ability to transform, to build confidence and create a presence, to communicate without words. It’s something both of us gravitated towards from an early age.
Underwear, on the other hand, was never a particular passion for either of us, which is the point. For two girls who loved fashion and thought quite a bit about what we wore on the outside, we realised we’d never given much consideration to what was underneath. Negative was born out of a desire to build something we’d feel proud to wear under – we want to give women a reason to care about their underwear! - Marissa
What lead you to start Negative Underwear?
We wanted to do something in fashion that would solve a real problem versus adding more clutter to an already crowded industry. For us, that white space was underwear. As we saw it, intimate apparel was a long-neglected category with a dissatisfied consumer base desperately looking for an alternative. We thought we could do better by making something different.
Negative was a many-years-in-the-making project. Lauren and I were both working full-time in other industries when we decided to make a change and pursue a career in fashion. We started with night classes at FIT, and it grew organically from there.- Marissa
Who is the woman who wears NU?
She's more a mindset than a demographic - someone strong, independent-minded and design-focused who knows what she wants and doesn't have much time for fuss. - Marissa
What are some influences that have shown in your recent collection?
We've been fortunate to have fostered a supportive network of amazing women - from Miley Cyrus to Alexa Chung to Cleo Wade to Hannah Bronfman - it's been humbling to see women we admire choosing to wear Negative as part of their daily wardrobe. - Marissa
What are some necessities you need around you while designing?
Fabric and material inspiration!
So much of our design process is based around textiles. Our designs are intentionally quite minimalist, so the details matter that much more - we care about every elastic, the hook & eye, the way our label is heat transferred onto the band to avoid itchy tags. We obsess over these details.
When it comes to fabrics, we're always on the hunt for materials that feel stunning on the skin. (Comfort and function are super important when it comes to intimate apparel!) Still, obtaining something special - a stylised edge that stands out in a sea of other frilly lingerie brands and isn't so so simple that it feels tame, boring. We love a good tone-on-tone print that feels engaging yet uncommon. We hate anything too expected. - Marissa
Describe your favorite corner in your studio.
When we worked in Soho, we had these big wondrous corner windows facing Broome + Greene Streets where you could look down on busy Soho life passing by - always a breath of fresh air when you needed a moment to reset. It reminded you why living in New York is so special. - Marissa
Do you have a schedule or a routine when you go to work?
Pretty much the opposite of a schedule or a routine! Haha - we're still such a small team, wearing so many hats that every day is truly varied. - Marissa
A photo shoot essential?
A portable steamer, body cream/oil, disposable underwear, a warm robe - studios are always chilly! - Marissa
What are you looking forward to in the future?
Continuing to build our underwear empire - both in regards to growing our audience, but also our team. - Marissa
L.A. based actress/model Grace Wethor gives us a stunning insight on her process. She expresses her simple adorations in and of life. A true giver a receiver of positive energy, an optimistic old soul.
This is Grace.
Please tell us a little about your background.
I’m a Midwest girl. My mom is from South Dakota and I grew up in Minnesota. I went to elementary and middle school in Minnesota and then I moved to L.A. when I was 13.
What gave you the push/want to be a model?
When I was 13, I was diagnosed with a Brain Stem Glioma Tumor. There is no standard treatment for my type of tumor so I decided to go towards more natural approaches. I really focus on eating healthy, holistic treatments, and following my dreams. After being diagnosed, I started pursuing my career.
See her Ted Talk dowe below:
Do you have a schedule or a routine when you go to work?
When you go to a print shoot or a day of filming you never know what to except. One day you could be inside against a white backdrop and the next you could be on top of a building in -20 degree weather. But one thing that I always have to do is school because I am a minor. So that’s usually as close to a routine as it gets.
If there was one plaza, nook, restaurant (just any general place) you could spend hours at, where would it be?
There is this tiny all natural Cafe in Minneapolis called Tao Foods. All of the food is so good and they have so many cool nicknacks in the store. I love going there, getting a green juice, and just chilling.
What inspires you lately?
I’m in love with my neighborhood. I live in Beverly Hills, two blocks away from Rodeo Dr. I often find my self walking around and looking at the architecture and the stores. I love living so close to the stores and being able to see all of the collections in person; instead of looking at pictures of them online.
What do you love most about the fashion industry?
Definitely how everyone can express them selves any way they want. You can wear what ever you want and you can create what ever you want. Also, everyone is so creative and I love being around people like that.
What was your most treasured memory when modeling for Chloe?
The Chloé shoot was a part of a project for Teen Vogue X Parsons and we shot it in the middle of Times Square. It was super awkward because there was a bunch of people watching. We also shot it in the middle of the street and almost got run over by a bunch of cabs. It was crazy!
What are you looking forward to in the future?
I think 2017 is going to be a big year. I have so many exciting things in the works and I cant wait to see how this year turns out and to share everything I’m working on!
New York based visual artist Renee Phillips tells us of the conversation between humans and nature. A meditation of sorts, with an urban twist. Soft and independent. The one and only Renee Philipps.
Do you have a schedule or a routine when you go to your studio to work?
I love having the flexibility to change my day based on what I’m working on, but I do have some daily practices that are important in maintaining fresh inspiration. I am a big believer in a morning mindful walk, and I recently heard that Snoop Dog also walks for inspiration! I live and work in Chelsea, so I’ll walk to the Hudson River and just be present, taking in the surrounding environment. Maybe I’ll take some photos or journal some thoughts; through movement, my mind opens up to new ideas and inspiration. I’ll then go to the art studio with fresh concepts and start working with color and form. The basis of my practice starts in selecting color palettes, most often inspired by combinations seen in the natural world, from my travels and the streets of NYC.
What inspires you?
The passage of time intrigues me. When I work in my studio, I allow the work to unveil itself over time while also contemplating the notion that time as we experience it is an illusion. My surroundings inspire me in so many ways. Nature and its evolutionary cycles of birth, decay and change, urban decay and transformation. The city is in a state of constant evolution as layers are applied by humans and removed by nature, revealing a unique conversation of decay and rebirth.
Please tell us what techniques you use in your work.
I'm a big fan of the concept of alchemy, the medieval ancestor of modern chemistry, as my approach relies heavily on investigating the properties of materials in my studio. Manipulating acrylic paint with water and alcohol, applying enamel over a wet surface, creating papers with chemicals, using heat to alter material composition - these are just a few of the practices I use in my work. Each piece has anywhere from ten to fifty layers. I build up and sand away many layers of these alchemical techniques to reveal the passage of time, energy and process, and draw the viewer into a conversation about how the piece was made. My favorite question to hear from any viewer is “how did you do that?”
Can you show us your favorite corner in your studio?
My work station is my favorite spot in the
studio. It’s where I mix all of my paint and
house the tools for my art making process.
Since my process can be chaotic I like to
have a clean and orderly work area.
Please tell us about the art scene in Chelsea. Among the young artists would you say there is a strong sense of support and community?
The Chelsea art scene is a main artery of the art world, and it houses some of the most established galleries in the world. Almost every Thursday in the spring and fall the galleries host opening night parties and it is quite a scene! Artists and art lovers come out to view the latest art and mingle with fellow creatives. With that said, working in Chelsea tends to skew a bit older while the Lower East Side and Brooklyn hold more emerging artists. I attended a residency at the School of Visual Arts in NYC a few years ago and made some wonderful friends in the art world that have become my tribe, so to speak. It is incredibly important to build your community of fellow artists, not only for friendship, but also for inspiration, heightened conversation, critique and collaboration. No matter where you create I would recommend building your community of fellow artists – we work and live everywhere.
What are the things that are upsetting you in the world right now? And what are the things that are making you happy?
We are living in a volatile environment filled with false realities, discrimination and hate – that is what makes me the most upset. However, this environment has ignited a passion and strength in ensuring our voices are heard. Art is powerful tool in this arena.
Where can you see your work in the coming months?
I have recently started a new series that is inspired by moments of transition. I’m using learned alchemical techniques with enamel, spray paint and polymers to freeze moments in time within the process of creation. I’m using a more moody color palette that reflects contemplative times, juxtaposed with bright and vibrant colors that jolt you with energy.