franziska fox serves gravity-defying s&m glam
As she unveils spring/summer 15 with a little help from muse Richie Shazam and artist Baron von Fancy, downtown designer Julia Fox tells us why girl power is all we’ve got.
Tried and true New York native Julia Fox, the designer behind Franziska Fox, is pulling inspiration from her past as Mistress Valentina, channeling her former dominatrix alter-ego's S&M vibes into a gravity defying lookbook shoot by Landon Nordeman. Starring the brand's muse, Richie Shazam -- a familiar fixture in downtown's ever-evolving nightlife scene -- and with illustration provided by fellow OG NYC'er Baron Von Fancy, spring/summer 15 is all about creative collaboration. As you take your exclusive first look at Richie's insane rope moves, find out how the real New York is at the core of Fox's DNA.
Tell us about your work with Richie Shazam.
Richie, my business partner Briana Andalore, and I have been inseparable since our early teens. We are all from New York City, the real New York City. I think that we are kind of a dying breed. Growing up lost in the confusion and chaos of this concrete palace, it's so important to have real friends. This shoot was somewhat of a coming out moment for me, in terms of embracing and coming to terms with who I am and the things I have done. Having him model my art, in terms of fashion as well as S&M, is almost as if he was holding my hand and telling me everything was going to be okay.
How did Baron Von Fancy get involved with the project?
Gordon has always been a strong supporter of the crew. He's from the city too, so he knows what we're about. To have support and have people that can offer a new perspective is a real game changer. We don't just admire his art, we admire him as a person as well. I view his contribution as him supporting the unveiling of "Mistress Valentina" to the public eye.
Coming from a fine art background, how important is visual art or creative collaboration to the brand?
I think having a creative outlet is such a beautiful thing, but what I find even more fascinating is the fact that I can take my creativity and combine it with yours and create with you. There's no better feeling than taking nothing and making it something.
How does New York inspire your work or vision?
New York doesn't just inspire my work or vision, it is my work and vision. It's all I know. It's my DNA.
The brand is all about girl power--tell us how!
For me, "girl power" is being true to myself. Recently I was aggressively confronted with some elements from my past--things that I was never necessarily ashamed of, but in that moment, I felt as though I was supposed to be. Mistress Valentina, at one point in my life, was my alter ego. I kept her hidden away for many years and I don't want to do that to myself anymore. Everyone has a past and we will never know what it is like to walk a day in someone else's shoes. We have to learn to accept and love one another and appreciate our differences instead of condemning them. Briana and I really want to stress to young women everywhere: don't let your past determine your future. Do the right thing today. Be nice to one another. Love is everything.
Text Emily Manning
Images courtesy Franziska Fox