hot mess duo luka sabbat and noah dillon are leading a creative revolution
Stepping out from behind the camera to prove he’s more than just a model, style influencer Luka Sabbat has teamed up with photographer Noah Dillon to launch creative project Hot Mess, which will debut during NYFW at renowned gallery Milk.
What do you get if you cross an internet It-kid turned style icon with a young photographer from the middle of nowhere? A hot mess. No, not the Paris Hilton/Nicole Richie c. Simple Life kind. Both the name of Luka Sabbat and Noah Dillon's creative partnership and the title of their first exhibition, this is the kind of hot mess that's about to shake the creative industries to their core. "No more old heads in board rooms making decisions for the kids. No more cliques," says Noah. "Hot Mess is the kid from a suburb who wants to be someone but doesn't know how. Hot Mess is believing in yourself and working unimaginably hard to make sure you're taken seriously." The culmination of two years travelling between LA, Paris and New York, their first photographic project will debut during NYFW at renowned gallery Milk. Shot by Noah and directed by Luka, their exhibition, also titled Hot Mess, offers a raw and honest portrait of today's youth, captured pouring out of parties, brightening up the streets, tearing up the creative scene and just generally running amok. Ahead of tomorrow's launch, we meet the future stars of tomorrow.
Tell us a bit about yourself and where you grew up?
Luka: I grew up in Paris with my mum and my grandmother, I flew out every vacation to see my dad but both my parents worked in fashion so I was always around creativity.
Noah: I'm from a very small town in southwest Colorado. One of those places that sucks you in like a black hole. I never had many friends growing up and I was unbelievably self-conscious and insecure. Still am. Growing up in physical isolation is crazy, especially with the internet. You can see the possibilities but getting there seems impossible. Time passed and life circumstances became worse. Creating became my medication.
How did you both meet?
Luka: Noah and I met through Twitter. I was a fan of his photography and he knew who I was so it was the perfect combo. I messaged him and told him to meet me in LA and he flew out two days after. Noah knows how to take amazing photos and has an eye for that, I know about clothes, styling and have plenty ideas. So since we both had visions for visuals that went together and had similar aesthetics but different point of views was perfect, we felt like it needed to be done. Nobody my age and in this scene has really put anything out this big, so we felt like it was time to prove what the "youth" is up to.
What's the story behind Hot Mess?
Noah: When we met in LA the first time that was the beginning of Hot Mess. At first we just wanted to do an exhibition, but then it evolved. We shot in New York, Paris, and in my hometown most recently. From the start we approached this from a very unorthodox way. We cast weirdo unknown models from Instagram last minute. We would sometimes shoot 2-3 days, no sleep, running around the city planning nothing. It's taken about two years and tons of our own money. But we have finally honed our process. Good things take time.
What are you hoping to achieve with it?
Noah: I want to be clear. This isn't just a photo gallery or us taking over MILK studios. Hot Mess is Luka and I. Companies, figures, magazines etc. can hire us to bring them a creative team who actually have relevant ideas. It's a whole new way of approaching the creative industry. If we can kick down the door and make it easier for people our age to pursue what they want with no fear I think this event will be a success.
Luka: I want to prove that I'm not just a model or just a face. We want to prove that if two people who really have drive and want to do something, you can actually do it.
How do you feel about the state of the creative industries today?
Noah: The industry is as broken as the political system. Everything looks the same, sounds the same and is covered the same. Corporations are too afraid to take a chance on young people, yet the only audience they are trying to capture ARE THE EXACT KIDS THEY ARE REJECTING. I feel like 99% of the work out there is trash, including my own stuff a lot of the time.
Luka: It's in mid transformation. More young people. New ideas. New concepts. New type of models and everyone is more open about who they actually are.
Can creativity save the day in these turbulent political times?
Noah: 100% yes. I think we have forgotten that art/creativity is great for protest and an even better way for unity.
Luka: Yes and no. A lot of the population isn't actually creative or understand this industry, it's a small industry we're in if you think about it. But it's a good gateway and spreading awareness is always good.
How would you describe your generation in four words?
Noah: Undervalued, misunderstood, talented, lost.
Luka: Car stuck on train.
What are you working on at the moment?
Noah: Luka and I just shot the campaign for one of our favourite brands. I've been working on releasing an EP for my band The Hellp as well as an exhibition using a new technique to showcase horses in the dying culture of the southwest.
What are your hopes for the future?
Noah: I don't have any hopes I only have plans. We are about to change everything and I've never been so certain. The stars are lining up.
Luka: More content. More work. More everything.
"After we heard about all of things Luka was doing, we were immediately drawn to his creative outlook. After getting to know him and hearing about his work with Noah and Hot Mess, we wanted to embrace the vision. I thought, what better way to inspire his own creativity than to give him a space to create without limits. In Milk's 20 years, this is the first time we're handing over the keys to one artist during NYFW. I'm happy to give Luka a platform, offer him a family in Milk and work in a way that is supportive of each other." Mazdack Rassi, founder Milk Gallery
Text Tish Weinstock
Images courtesy of Hot Mess