Actually, that photograph there is probably my new favorite,” John Demsey says, pointing to a Bert Stern portrait of Elizabeth Taylor circa 1960 vamping in full Cleopatra regalia. Demsey is on the second floor of his townhouse in New York’s east sixties, a building that both Teddy Roosevelt and Montgomery Clift once called home. In addition to housing the Estée Lauder Cos. group president, his young daughter and three cats, the abode is also home to Demsey’s vast photography collection, which hangs amid a Willy Wonka–worthy trove of pop ephemera.
“Talk about a score,” Demsey says of the Taylor shot. “[Stern] signed that a week before he died... Not to make anybody nervous about selling me anything.”
Not 10 minutes prior, he had estimated that another recent acquisition, a William Klein shot of Muhammad Ali, was his favorite. He pauses to think and the truth emerges: “It’s whatever’s the newest.”
Given Demsey’s knack for recognizing the next great cool thing, it makes sense that he’d spend his off hours hunting out such iconography. Demsey is perched on a couch, a giant 1980-something Patrick McMullan print of Grace Jones hanging over his shoulder. Nearby is Delmar Watson’s much-reproduced shot of Sophia Loren catching a sideways glance of Jayne Mansfield’s decolletage. The collection weaves from David Bailey’s Sixties Mods to Ron Galella’s paparazzi work in the Seventies to modern-day fashion photography by the likes of Miles Aldridge, Steven Klein and Terry Richardson. The whole thing is an overstimulized pop dream punctuated by the 650 Fornasetti plates that also hang around the house.
Demsey wouldn’t have it any other way.
Mention that certain professionals prefer to leave their work at the office, Demsey scoffs. “Most of our art directors live in minimalist environments,” he laughs in concession.
The collection’s two urtexts hang on the third floor. First is a portrait of Demsey at age 18 taken by the 20th century master Yousuf Karsh, commissioned by his father. The second is a black-and-white publicity still of Brigitte Bardot as a brunette that Demsey found in a Paris flea market.
“I was a fan of pop culture... I bought old publicity photos,” he says of that very first acquisition. “When you’re in college, you can’t really afford very much.”
Presumably, Demsey’s budget is a bit larger these days.
“I’ve been known to buy art sitting in a boring meeting on my Blackberry,” he smiles.
“These collections continue to build on that vision, empowering differently abled adults to express themselves through fashion,” said @tommyhilfiger of his line of adaptive apparel, which launches today. The line consists of 37 men’s and 34 women’s styles based upon the pieces from the spring Tommy Hilfiger sportswear collection. #wwdnews
“Stranger Things” is getting a new cast member for season 2. Meet @sadiesink_, the 15-year-old who will be joining the Netflix series for its new season. You may recognize her from “The Glass Castle” with Brie Larson and Woody Harrelson, but the Texas native’s next role goes in an entirely different direction. She describes her character, Max, as “a rough and tumble skater girl [who] becomes friends with the boys at school.” The second season debuts on October 27. (📷: @jgreenery) #wwdeye
Amid the Harvey Weinstein controversy, there’s another sector that’s being put under the spotlight for sexual abuse: the modeling industry. While rumors about abuse and sexual harassment of female and male models — and the photographers, agents and others who perpetrated it — have circulated within the fashion world for years, model @cameronrussell started posting stories from models on Instagram last week about abusive situations they’ve encountered — from sexual harassment and molestation to attempted rape. Over 75 have weighed in so far. Read more on WWD.com. Link in bio. #wwdnews
To celebrate its 16th anniversary, @dylanscandybar tapped designers and celebrities to create mosaics out of candy. The mosaics will be auctioned off to support the philanthropic cause of each participant’s choice. Pictured here is the mural created by @aliceandolivia's Stacey Bendet. For a first look at some of the other artwork being unveiled tonight, go to WWD.com. #wwdeye
The annual Veuve Clicquot Polo Classic in Pacific Palisades this weekend drew Kate Hudson, Tracee Ellis Ross, Laura Dern and more. See pictures of the star-studded event on WWD.com. (📷: @chelsealaurenla) #wwdeye
In his new book “Hollywood Royale,” Andy Warhol’s Protégé Matthew Rolston celebrates the Eighties revival of Hollywood glamour. Featuring more than 100 portraits taken by Rolston from 1977 to 1993, the book contains photos of icons like Michael Jackson, Cyndi Lauper, and @drewbarrymore, pictured here in 1991. “Hollywood Royale,” out today, will be accompanied by an exhibition opening at Los Angeles’ Fahey/Klein Gallery on March 1. #wwdeye
"Nowadays when life is not so happy with everything going on in the world, I think people come to me for a little bit of whimsy and color and fun." - Designer Rebecca De Ravenel on her cult-favorite jewelry line. (📸 : @vsteves) #wwd40
“Everyone is talking about how the retail industry is struggling, but I think it’s an incredible time because brands who are doing something different and innovative are setting themselves up for the future,” said @adamgoldston, who founded the luxury athletic brand @apl with his brother @ryangoldsten. The Goldston’s are part of WWD’s 40 under 40: a group of industry notables. See the rest of the list on WWD.com. (📷: @vsteves) #wwd40
@eyeswoon blogger Athena Calderone debuted her first-ever cookbook, “Cook Beautiful,” which is heavily centered on the presentation and visual expression of food. Pictured here are her miso glazed carrots from the book. Get the recipe on WWD.com. (📷: @johnny_miller_) #wwdeye