Rihanna’s Designer is Joined by Amy Sedaris for a Sideways Look at His Fashion Week Debut
A gaggle of models find themselves upstaged by comedian Amy Sedaris in this mockumentary filmed at Adam Selman’s debut fashion show at New York Fashion Week, Spring-Summer 2014. Selman enlisted his close friend, the Letterman regular and star of cult comedy Strangers with Candy, to play an in-your-face photographer, spoofing the traditional casting call. “Amy played that character from The Eyes of Laura Mars,” says Selman, also who also referenced the opening scene of Lipstick as further fodder for the antics. “I just wanted her out there taking pictures and doing her thing. But it was so great because her camera wasn’t even turned on.” No stranger to spectacle, Selman created stage outfits for Britney Spears, Michael Jackson and the Scissor Sisters before working with Rihanna and her stylist Mel Ottenberg. His foray into fashion via his eponymous line is a mash-up of boudoir sexy and streetwise inspired in part by retro Francesco Scavullo Cosmopolitan covers, and was designed with RiRi in mind. “It’s hard for me not to imagine her wearing these things because we work so closely together. We’re very simpatico in inspiration and design right now,” he explains. Meanwhile, his pal Sedaris, who frequently turns up on television in bespoke Selman, keeps his spirits high, so to speak. “The first week after knowing him I ordered 100 dress labels with his name on it,” she muses. “I knew I was going to ask him to make me dresses for the rest of my life.”
How did you and Amy Sedaris meet?
Adam Selman: We met on a Dolly Parton video shoot in Dollywood. I was dressing all the extras, including Amy, for the video. We instantly hit it off, while walking to the Chick-fil-A. After we came back to New York, I joined her craft club—we were called the Frayed Knots. It was really an excuse to get together and smoke pot. We then decided to do a crafts book, Simple Times: Crafts for Poor People.
What have you learned from working so closely with Rihanna?
AS: I think the best thing is to not become too emotionally attached to clothes. Especially with someone like Rihanna, who eats clothes. She does a lot of looks so it’s good to constantly be pushing.
Have you always been interested in fashion, even as a child?
AS: We grew up on a ranch in Texas, close to Waco, and I come from a very religious background. We didn’t have Vogue lying around. I would have to sneak it out of the doctor’s office. My mom taught me how to sew. My dad was a carpenter, which is actually very similar to a pattern maker. It was a very hands-on childhood, very creative. When I finally moved to New York I was like, “Ohhh, Versace.”
Series Two Continues with an Exploration of an American Creative Tradition
Meet the vanguards peppering the urban spaces and grand vistas of America with colorful typography in this atmospheric short film Sign Painters, a special edit of a feature-length documentary shot by Sam Macon and Faythe Levine. The filmmakers journeyed across different states including Los Angeles, New York City, Seattle and Minnesota, zooming in on the lost and found art of hand-lettered sign painting and the enriching impact the artists have on public spaces. Featuring emerging creatives and more experienced artists with over five years crafting experience, Levine and Macon met such characters as the mustachioed Mike Meyer from Minnesota, Seattle’s Sean Barton who is both a sign and fine artist and the next generation of enthusiastic painters, including Marjory Garrison from Echo Park, Los Angeles. “The first move we made was to travel to the Pacific Northwest and meet a couple of painters,” explains Macon of the film’s beginnings in 2010, before the project evolved into a book with a foreword from Ed Ruscha, himself a former sign maker. “Not only were there a lot of working sign painters out there, there’s a tendency towards them being wonderful storytellers.”
What was the catalyst for the documentary?
Sam Macon: Faythe had a group of friends she’d met in Minneapolis who had started an informal apprenticeship with an established sign painter named Phil Vandervaart. The group of guys had all gone on to become working sign painters in various cities across the US with one of them in Stockholm. Being interested in lettering, process and public space, we decided to dive in.
What was the most inspiring element of the filmmaking process?
SM: Initially, I was a bit skeptical that we’d be able to find enough content to carry a feature length film but Faythe knew better. My skepticism was almost immediately blown to pieces as soon as we announced the project.
Did the generational differences between the artists surprise you?
SM: I think the biggest difference between the old and young guard has a lot to do with the market place, then the individuals. The game has changed. There are fewer and fewer venues to really learn the trade, the unions are less prevalent, and the work is often harder to come by thanks to chain sign stores and cheap alternatives. But what surprised us was the amount of admiration and mutual enthusiasm that crossed the generational divide. Much of the younger crowd truly respects the old timers, while a lot of the older painters seem to be really energized by the up-and-comers.
The Olympic Fencer Turned Brooklyn Nighthawk Captured in His Natural Habitat
Jonas Lindström presents a voyeuristic reflection on the dichotomous world of Race Imboden, the youngest, top-ranking foil fencer in the world. Today's film comes a little over a year after the flame-haired 20-year-old was spotted and signed by Request Model Management while competing at the London Olympic Games. “The idea was simple,” admits the German filmmaker and contributor to Interview, Wallpaper* and Modern Matter. “We followed him around with the intention of just letting things happen.” Oscillating between work and play, Lindström cuts from Imboden lunging at the Brooklyn Bridge Fencing Club to striding through a neighborhood dive bar. “Fencing is all about dedication to a very fine technicality that can only can be learned through allowing yourself to be insane enough to submit your body and mind to the sport,” says Imboden, who walked the runway for Louis Vuitton and was shot by Alasdair McLellan for Topman for Spring/Summer 2013. “Modeling is more about letting that insanity shine through.” Imboden’s athletic virtuosity is matched by a passion for music that has seen him drum in a punk band, intern for record label Fool’s Gold and DJ—read on for his take on the top five artists currently soundtracking his life.
Lyrically and musically his album stands up to all the hype, which is rare these days. He’s got that low voice that makes him unique. “A Lizard State” may as well been the only song on my iPod this summer.
It’s refreshing to hear a dude spitting about sniffing Adderall instead of how many diamonds there are in his chain. Plus his verse on A$AP's “1 train” blows everybody out of the water.
Quality house music. Everybody needs to go down to the disco every once and a while. Like Danny Brown, he is a Fool’s Gold artist, and I have a soft spot for everything they put out.
Who doesn't love a few broken-heart tunes from a British beat group. For me, their “Needles and Pins” is a tie with the Ramones version.
Buddy Holly and the Crickets
You don't really need me to tell you they're fantastic. “Oh Boy” is a classic, and these kinds of rockabilly sounds have really stood the test of time.