Having the opportunity to shoot Scarlett again, only this time with her mom, who has been an icon (along with Rick Owens) for a couple of decades, was a seminal moment to me. I do not throw words around easily, including “icon,” but I have been wearing Rick’s clothes since his union with Michele, and, for me, they exude a primitive and romantic history mixed with rock and roll and an androgynous sexuality that makes me feel in my super power. Additionally, I have felt one of those many lifetime connections to Scarlett since we shot her in LA a couple of years ago. I am in awe of her acute perceptions, spirituality, and guts as an artist. Scarlett is every bit her mom’s daughter in her extraordinary vision and singular style — an expression that has nothing to do with trends or status and everything to do with the unspeakable depth and warmth of her being. Read More
Instinct, a song, a book — Michele’s life is guided by the “flow of attraction.” When something is mesmerizing to her, she falls in love, and then she acts. From a criminal attorney/striptease artist (she did them simultaneously while living in a commune of transvestites), to Paris in 68 (a cultural mega soup), to the Chelsea Hotel in the 70s, to LA (NY on the Riviera), and back to Paris with Rick Owens (after recognizing his insane talents,) Michele is a Deleuzian nomad with pounds of conviction and not an ounce of irony. Magical, not flaky, her signature and unparalleled rings, which compliment the tribal tattoos on her fingers, are by artisans that she’s fervent about and wants to help push out into the world. Michele’s first “fashion” moment was influenced by the Berber tribes, and the ink on her forehead is as real to her sense of being as the red cloth is to the Masai. Some of the earthiest stylish beings still left in this world, Michele and Scarlett don’t go to hairdressers: they both cut and dye their purpley-red henna’d hair.
“My parents idea of parenting was, ‘Figure it out. Explore. Be curious,” Scarlett reveals. “Find out who you are. You’re bored? That’s because you’re boring.” Scarlett has called her mom “Michele” since she was a kid working in her mom’s infamous restaurant, Les Deux Cafe — the epicenter of cool in the City of Angels during the 90s.”The grass is always greener where she is,” Scarlett says of her mom. “She sees the enchantment of things.” For Scarlett, her mom serves as a source of everyday strength due to her relentless positivity and wild love of life.
Michele never advertised her restaurant: “People could feel it or not, it’s a vibe.” That self-possession has allowed Scarlett the inner resolve to put herself out there as an artist with the kind of vulnerability that her mom might have wished for herself but was reluctant to cultivate. “Michele loves art and she maybe would’ve wanted to be an artist,” reflects Scarlett, “but she doesn’t want to sit in her pain.” It was Rick who initially encouraged Scarlett’s murals. “They’re traditional, political, and there’s always a narrative,” says Scarlett. “I like to tell stories. I got that from Michele.” When we asked Scarlett about her spectral mural, “Fighting For Peace: Peace Is a Choice,” Scarlett told us: “We have a masculine-dominated culture, which has destroyed the planet and our home. The earth, and we as humanity, need the balance of the mom, because without the feminine there is no cycle of life.” For Michele, Scarlett’s art leaves her speechless. “It would be very scary,” she confesses.
About her mom, Scarlett says, “I love to watch her work and the bewitching power that she has. She’s always trying to instill that in me. Michele used to say to me, ‘You always have to be ready for a cocktail party. But because of the work that I do, it isn’t about people looking at me, but about the work that I’m making.”