Tag Archives: The Baroness

Different Designers: The Baroness, Amber, Miranda & Miyong


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!

Latex_Fashions_8005.jpgThe 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
sophisticat.jpgthe 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!

12072545_10153644707123349_8294939241682471359_n.jpgI 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 SPRYSPROUT-LISTING-DRWho-Blue_Police_Box_Bib_2.jpgago 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!

64115_374769725874962_61218438_n.jpgMy 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!

10325134_10152043125851791_3254155197080633092_n.jpgAmber 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 31377_394105501790_3019224_n.jpgquarters 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!

Bowery Birthday & The Box

Tuesday night I accompanied my friend Nick to rock photographer Bob Gruen‘s birthday party. The event was held at R Bar on the Lower East Side — the Bowery, to be exact. My last trip to R Bar was as part of SantaCon and, blinded by all the red and white, I hadn’t noticed then how swanky the joint is! Also, their back room was closed off, which was a real shame, since it has a few stripper poles. And Santa loves stripper poles! But I digress.

Bob decorates his birthday bashes with prints of his photography and this year’s collection was completely comprised of work shot in 2010. There were multiple photos featuring Yoko Ono, Debbie Harry and Billie Joe Armstrong, as well as many of Bob himself with friends and acquaintances. After perusing the prints, I immediately texted my ex: “Bob Gruen’s bday? There’s a shot of Debbie free for the taking!” He’s a big Blondie fan, or, more specifically, a Debbie fan. Nick and I parked ourselves in the back room, behind a stripper pole and in front of the best Debbie pic, and my ex joined us a half-hour later. We hung out and bought each other beers. It’s so grown-up to be on civil terms with one’s ex, no?

The club became progressively crowded with the famous and semi-famous, including Ms. Harry. People kept mistaking me for Gruen’s wife, shaking my hand in congratulations or randomly chatting me up. The only resemblance I can discern is that we both have long blondish hair…and I think she may be almost as tall as I am. I wonder if she’s ever mistaken for me! I said hello to Clem Burke, who Nick had introduced me to during Blondie’s Parallel Lines tour. Other luminaries included Bebe Buell, Leee Black Childers, Victor Bockris, Richard Lloyd, Anthony Haden-Guest, Alison Gordy, Tommy Gunn and BP Fallon.

The Pretty Babies, a Blondie cover band with Tammie Faye Starlite on lead vocals, rocked the house in black blazers and skinny ties. Well, except for Tammie Faye. She was in something suitably skimpy! There were downtown types of every age, size and stripe (literally, stripes!) and a festive birthday cake. One particularly saucy young woman in a fab ’70s-ish maxi dress (when was the last time you even heard the term “maxi dress?”), hell bent on snagging a shot of Iggy Pop, introduced herself. The buxom blonde with her  asked if I was interested in any particular photo. I nodded at the Debbie print behind me. “I’ve been at the last four birthdays and I’ve never gotten the picture I wanted! Take it now!” she ordered with a slur. I demurred, saying I didn’t mind waiting. Whereupon she snatched it off the wall and rolled it up, shoving it at me with an exaggerated sense of urgency. Mr. Gruen was a mere arm’s reach away, shmoozing with one of the women who’d mistaken me for his wife. I tried not to look too embarrassed. But I surreptitiously squirreled the print away in the sleeve of my metallic red motorcycle jacket. And my ex happily toted it home.

I didn’t last too late at the fete; I’d had 11:0pm plans with The Baroness. She met me at R Bar, where we were fabulous for a while, posing for Tina Paul and letting people conjecture about whether we “were somebody” or not. (We are!) Somewhat reluctantly, we strolled a block over to Chrystie, Baroness in her latex and I in my leopard print sweater, headed for The Box. I’d been hearing about the club for years from many of my performer friends who’d been booked there. For some reason, I assumed it was a tacky bottle bar (perhaps because of their big budgets!) packed with pretentious bridge-and-tunnelers, so I’d avoided it. Quel dommage! The place is positively stunning! Intimate and delightfully appointed, including some serious heavy metal accoutrements dans les toilettes, courtesy of The Baroness herself! I could live there! (In the club, not the toilets…) The adorable bartender was wearing a flowing tulle skirt, a strappy leather top and roller blades. Behind the bar! Gorgeous! We only indulged in one beverage, as we decided not to make a late night of it. The evening ended on an amusing note: as we exited the club and were waiting for a gentleman to vacate a taxi, he took a look at us and exclaimed, “You two look exciting!” “We are!” I laughed. “Well, more exciting than me,” he sheepishly admitted. “Without a doubt!” I snapped in retort. It’s always nice to have one’s fabulousness acknowledged.