Argh! Aside from catching up on my bloggery, today was a total wash. Somewhat literally. The rain kept my companion for the evening’s festivities at home so I stayed home too, not only blowing off our 7:00 event but the subsequent date (he was fine with it, stuck in traffic due to the rain and happy not to have to slog out in it) and the birthday party a mere two blocks from my apartment. Mind you, I didn’t know the person whose birthday it was but a few friends were going and, well, I should’ve too. Instead I’m sitting here in my fancy makeup, full of San Loco and Pepperidge Farm Double Chocolate Nantuckets. Whatev. Although I didn’t have any meetings today, I had one yesterday, moving the proverbial ball forward. And, believe it or not, I had a few phone calls with news of possible places for sale. Yup, I’m manifesting shit from right here on my motherfuckin’ couch! Like a boss, as they say. Anyway, for today’s installment of my Fabulously Talented Friends, I’ve decided on four different designers, each very different in their own ways. Enjoy!
The Baroness has been designing high fashion fetish wear for over 20 years now and I’ve known her almost as long. The two of us have conspired on all kinds of kinky events, from our Fetish Beach Ball to Click + Drag fashion shows and dozens of bizarre performances. Beyond her beautiful latex, The Baroness loves to show off her vacuum-sealed sucky bed or climb inside giant balloons. She’s also been an East Village neighbor all these years, finally opening up her own shop about a decade ago right on East 13th Street. With the mainstreaming of fetish since “50 Shades of Stupid,” she has become even more sought after, with celebrities like Nikki Minaj and Serena Williams showing up in her designs, outfitting Lady Gaga’s litter bearers for the Grammy Awards and providing latex for
the TV show “Gotham.” The best part of knowing The Baroness is seeing her on the street. Her brightly-colored hair really stands out now that there are so many normals around here!
I met Miranda Blakely back when she was the DPW’s wild new young ‘un, “Rugburn.” A tattooed hellion who wore her heart on her sleeve, she was a motherly, mouthy Fluffer. We always had a blast together. A few years ago when we were both getting started as craftspeople, she joined me on a road trip to LA to vend our wares and, even though we didn’t sell anything, it was a
good time. Miranda has since settled down and become a mom and now channels her creative efforts into adorably functional stuff for kids. Spry Sprout is her “unique geek boutique” selling bibs and baby blankets. Shop with her if you’re looking for a baby shower gift!
My friend Miyong is probably gonna kill me for including her here. She often swears she’ll never sew again. But that doesn’t negate the fact that she’s a talented designer and seamstress, with the patience to teach people like me to make things with a sewing machine. She also comes up with original and unusual new textiles, like her latch-hooked raffia creations. She’s the designer to the stars for Burning Man theme camp Disorient. When I met her, she was a professional fabric designer, doing the hombré-ing for the Rockettes and costumes for a famous Elf, among others. I miss her since she moved to Oregon, where she’s delved into gardening and mushroom hunting and other decidedly non-New York City-type pastimes. If you’re gonna hire her to make you something, you’d better have some really good bribes in mind! And a whole lotta cash!
Amber Clisura, aka Make-Out Queen, launched Salt Clothing, her line of American made, “mostly organic and sustainable fabrics” designs in 2013. Last year she moved to LA and her career has really taken off. She’s been on all kinds of interesting textile adventures, from sewing a pair of very special — and tiny — pants for a certain cartoon character to creating crazy costumes for ad campaigns. She makes amazing clothes, incorporating unusual sartorial touches like leg-o’-mutton sleeves or flirty bustles into her fashions. [Check out the accompanying photo of her “DNA Dress.” Hand dyed and printed wool jersey with an engineered pleat print. Oooh!] When she’s not bent over a sewing machine, Amber’s kicking ass keeping the on-playa living quarters livable for the folks who work the event’s infrastructure. In 2011, she went a full year with her NO PANTS crusade, an idea I found so inspiring I jumped on board for a month with my own No Pants December. Amber makes life more interesting and entertaining for me when I’m out there in the desert and she mixes a mean Manhattan!