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.
EXCLUSIVE: Two and half months after John Targon, cofounder and codesigner of Baja East, was hired as creative director of the contemporary division at Marc Jacobs, he has left the company, WWD has learned. Marc Jacobs International, which is owned by LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, confirmed Targon’s departure in a statement: “John Targon is a talented designer and we appreciate the work he has done here. Ultimately working together did not make sense for the brand and we wish him the best.” Read the story by @jessiredale, link in bio. #wwdnews
@theluxurycollection is officially launching a collection, tapping Sofia Sanchez de Betak for the capsule. Over 30 styles will be featured in the Chufy x The Luxury Collection, debuting next month at Bergdorf Goodman, The Webster, FiveStory and more. De Betak, known as “@chufy,” drew inspiration for the collection from her trips to Japan in the past year #wwdfashion
@lhd, founder and CEO of @thewebster, has teamed up with @lebonmarcherivegauche for the European launch of her ready-to-wear line, LHD. The launch will come with an exclusive pop-up opening today that’s set to run through May 20. Located on the second floor, it carries her debut Miami-themed resort collection, launched in November as see-now-buy-now. #wwdfashion
@longchamp, which marks its 70th anniversary this year, just opened its biggest U.S. store on Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue. On the lower level there’s a floor-to-ceiling display of the brand’s iconic Le Pliage bag – in all of its different colors, shapes and sizes. Customers can also have their product personalized in-store by imprinting names, initials or emblems. #wwdfashion (📷: @ericmtownsend)
“Whenever I’m in that place of sound and music, I don’t have fear or nervousness…This album has a lot of themes of courage and boldness and I want to be the soundtrack for people’s lives. I’ll be so happy if [my songs] evoke strength in people, which I know music has done for me,” says @kimbramusic of her newest album “Primal Heart.” The New Zealand-born singer sat down with WWD to talk about her music, newest tour and connecting with hear fans — read more on WWD.com #wwdeye (📷: @jilliansollazzo)
Luxury handbag resale company @rebagofficial is planning to sell a rare collectible for $70,000: the @hermes White Crocodile Himalayan Birkin. The exclusive Birkin sold for about $100,000 in 2008, when @davidbeckham bought one for his wife @victoriabeckham to add to her collection. Read more about the rare Birkin on WWD.com #wwdaccessories
With her costume pearl necklace and what-you-see-is-what-you-get style, Barbara Bush, who died Tuesday at age 92, was a straight-shooter from start to finish.
Born Barbara Pierce in New York City, Bush served as the 37th first lady, as well as the country’s second lady from 1981 to 1989. In addition to being part of the longest presidential marriage — 73 years — Bush also had the unlikely distinction of having one son, George W., become the 43rd president and another son, Jeb, run unsuccessfully in 2016. Having served as second lady during the Reagan administration’s two terms and lived all over the world during her own husband’s ascending political career, Barbara Bush made it clear that literacy — not fashion — was her priority. Read more from Rosemary Feitelberg’s obituary on the late First Lady in WWD.com, link in bio. #barbarabush #wwdnews
Western and ’90s trends have influenced denim for fall 2018. Think raw, dark and coated jeans mixed with bold prints and tough leather. #trendtuesdays #wwdfashion (Styled by @thealexbadia;📷: @ryanplett)