We are endlessly inspired by strong, creative women, so we tapped six women we’re crushing on to dish on what inspires them. Shot by Helena Christensen in her very own SECRET GARDEN, this portrait series also sheds light on a concept often lost in the decadent world of fashion: sustainability. These fashionable New Yorkers wear the world’s only certified ethical and environmentally sustainable luxury cashmere, FAIR, courtesy of fashion house Maiyet. Meet our latest muses.
Alix Brown wears long sleeve FAIR cashmere dress – Maiyet and vintage silk shirt – Tsumori Chisato
Though Alix Brown’s resume includes model, actress and DJ, her true passion is music. In fact, she headed straight from our photo shoot, bass in hand, to practice with her band, Roya. But with her coquettish looks and impeccable 70s aesthetic, it’s no wonder the musician also doubles as muse.
When did you start pursuing music and who taught you to play bass? I dropped out of high school to play music. I taught myself, just by watching what my friends did and playing along to Ramones records.
What has your experience been as a female playing in rock bands? Has it improved at all? Honestly, I don’t think it has. I’ve gotten people asking me, “Are you a singer? Sing a song for me.” Or they’ll go, “Bass is easy. That’s why girls play bass.” Bass is not easy. You have to be on point. With guitar, you can just fuck off all day. Bass and drums are the rhythm section, so it’s actually really hard.
What is it about New York that breeds creativity? I was just in LA and there’s no sense of community there; it’s so spread out. Here, because we’re all living on top of each other, it’s way more inspiring. When you’re living in such close quarters, you feel the vibes of other people.
How do you factor sustainability into your life? I don’t buy things made in China — I won’t shop at Forever 21 or H&M. But I do have a MacBook and an iPhone, so you can’t win ‘em all.
Aya wears hooded FAIR cashmere cape – Maiyet and sheer turtleneck top – Maiyet
Aya Komatsu has applied her graphic looks to the world’s most famous models and actresses. For her, at the end of the day, it all comes back to one man: David Bowie.
What first got you interested in makeup? My fascination with makeup started when I was very, very young. I grew up in England, seeing David Bowie and glam rock and all these punk people walking around — it was full of color. That’s what inspired me to become a makeup artist.
Where do you turn for inspiration now? I get ideas from the arts, but also from literature. When you read great literature, you can really imagine it inside your head — the colors, the smells… I’m inspired by those images literature creates in your mind.
How would you describe your approach to makeup? What I like to do is a little bit more artsy, rather than just making people look pretty. I want to do something that will help the story come alive in the pictures.
How do you factor sustainability into your practice? Sustainability is really, really important. Makeup can be really damaging to the environment because of the oils and additives, so I try to use a lot of organic products. You have to be aware of the little things you can do.
Who’s a dream person you’d love to put makeup on? David Bowie. He was why I first got started. I still imagine, ‘What would Bowie look like if I did this?’. But he’s on Mars now.
Long sleeve FAIR cashmere tees – Maiyet and vintage lace briefs & lavender briefs – Helena’s own
Helena Christensen needs no introduction. Through this portrait series, shot in Helena’s own back garden, the Danish supermodel and photographer introduces a fresh talent: her niece, Sarah-Sofie Sonne, who’s currently studying to be a hairdresser.
What first sparked your interest in becoming a hairdresser? I always loved the world of fashion & style and was amazed by creative peoples ability to keep on creating new looks. That’s why I chose this path.
What sort of things inspire you? So many things inspire me! Everything from walking on the street to looking in a magazine. I love to mix things, like new with vintage.
What would be your “dream job?” I wanna be a freelance hair stylist one day. But my dream scenario would be to do different kind of jobs, to not be limited to do one thing only. Could even be something outside the hair & makeup world. Something that would come out of the blue and I would definitely take the chance.
In what ways has Helena inspired/supported your career? My auntie has always been there for me with feedback and good ideas whenever I started something, from designing and sewing clothes to my present work as a hair stylist student. She is such a major personality and inspiration in herself, so it’s always nice to be able to get her opinion.
In what ways do you try to incorporate sustainability into your every day life? I work in an organic hair saloon (ZENZ its called), so most of my day passes by with thinking in sustainable solutions and about our environment. Also I only use organic and clean hair products from Zenz Organic for my hair. They make the most fantastic products without parabenes or any kind of chemical additions. I am myself an allergic, so I can’t do normal chemical treatments such as coloring.
What does this beautiful space mean to you? Just waking up in the morning and looking out on all the green bushes, plants and colorful flowers brings such joy and calm to my mind. The sound of the birds chirping and watching butterflies fluttering around and squirrels jumping up and down makes me feel like I’m in an enchanted miniature forest.
How does you work as a model inform your work as a photographer? I always saw my modeling career as an education process where I absorbed as much as I possibly could technically and visually. I learned so much about lighting and composition, and I observed how those photographers approached their subjects in order to make them feel comfortable enough to show vulnerably.
Where do you turn for inspiration? I’m very inspired by movies, music, art, nature, the ocean, dark lakes, rain, birds in flight, old houses, empty rooms, factories, the weather, the changing light throughout the day, but mostly dusk, when everything turns black and white and only a few colors still remain. I’m inspired by faces, bodies, skin, hands, hair that blows in the wind, smoke, puddles, reflections, shadows… I’m inspired by a lot.
How do you factor sustainability into your life?
Honestly, making those changes is a slow process. You get so used to living in a specific way that even separating garbage seems like a huge effort. Traveling with Oxfam, documenting the devastating effects of climate change made me realize that the situation is pretty dire and that we all have a huge responsibility towards the earth, to ourselves but, more than anything, to our kids.
Mock turtleneck FAIR cashmere tee – Maiyet and Arc slip dress – Maiyet
Ever since she founded a hair salon-cum-gallery, Three Squares Studio, with her husband, hairdresser Jordan Blackmore, art dealer and curator Andi Potamkin has used art and design to spark positive energy in all sorts of spaces. Perhaps that’s why Potamkin herself has positive energy to burn.
How would you describe what you do now? Now I’m doing private dealing and curation through my company, LeMise. My method of sales is very much a psychological study. When you walk through your front door, what do you want to walk into? Do you have a lover? Do you entertain business people? Is it art for your kitchen or for your bedroom? I’m good at selling art that people never want to sell; the art you want your child to love because you love it so much.
What was the concept behind your gallery, Kasher Potamkin? It was all about context and energy. Our first show was this woman’s boudoir, and everything was navy and silver with lots of marble and fur. The next was a gilded forest made with organic materials. Every show would have painting, photography, lighting, furniture and ceramics.
How do you factor sustainability into your everyday life? Your dollar is a vote, so recently I’ve started not buying from companies I don’t believe in. Buying locally is numero uno. I also trade clothing with my girlfriends instead of buying new. I do a lot of work with Feng Shui, which says that unused items carry bad energy. I always believe that clothes are like women – you have to take them out on the town every once in a while.
Caroline Brasch Nielsen wears long sleeve FAIR cashmere tee – Maiyet and rose lace briefs – Agent Provocateur
Scouted while eating pizza in her native Copenhagen, model Caroline Brasch Nielsen has walked virtually every major runway, also starring in campaigns for the likes of Valentino and Marc Jacobs. Evidently she’s caught the fashion bug; Nielsen has started styling, even lending her eye to help on this shoot.
Besides modeling, what else do you do with your time? I’ve been doing a little bit of styling, but when I have time off I go horseback riding and travel to Copenhagen to stay in my beautiful apartment and visit friends and family.
How do you decide what to wear in the morning? I really dress to my mood, but I like to wear bright, bright colors. And I don’t wear anything black.
What inspires you in terms of your modeling? I really like to look at old French Vogue. That’s my favorite. The styling and the pictures… they always make women look gorgeous and sexy.
Are there any models that inspire you? Today, we’re not sexy anymore; it’s about being skinny. Back when Helena was modeling, they were like amazons. Naomi, Kate Moss… Models had a big personality.
Do you find being from Denmark has made you conscious of sustainability? Actually, I’ve become more conscious about it since I moved to New York. In Denmark, we don’t even have recycling. So to start recycling when I had never done it, it took me a while. My landlord is always kicking my ass, but I’m trying my best!
Photography Helena Christensen — Styling Caroline Brasch Nielsen & Vibe Dabelsteen — Art Direction Jakob F.S. — DP Hector Perez — Hair Owen Gould / The Wall Group — Makeup Erin Green / Art Department — Fashion Assistant Alexa Levine — Retouch The Color Club