Monday, March 30, 2009

Closet Case: Fay Koplovitz

When I met Fay she was wearing a cape. She is the only person who I've ever still wanted to talk to after realizing that she was indeed wearing a cape. That says a lot, and when we met we said a lot too. Turns out Fay and I have the same type of Obsessive Fashion Disorder (kind of like OCD, but with more shoes and magazines involved). Our mutual friend Rahul introduced us at an ICP fashion photography exhibit and we bonded in the photo-strewn galleries over favorite editorial layouts by Nick Knight and Steven Klein. Before the night was over, she was signed up to show my readers her closet. I wanted you all to see more of where that cape came from.

Fay's Ma and Pa circa the mid-80s.

It just so happens that she got it from her Mama. In fact, when we first started our interview, Fay talked a lot about her Mom and her time as a kid. Fay said her mother would giver her all different haircuts, or put her in dress-over-skirt outfits, but mostly she was a particular little thing who dressed herself. There were various rules: no corduroy (hated the sound it made), lots of teal, and Halloween costumes were her favorite things in the whole world.

Fourth grader Fay with her beloved copy of a Rick Astley cassette (l), and in a Halloween costume she made with her Mom (r), that she affectionately calls the "Trash Angel" look.

Fay's childhood passion for Halloween costumes actually became a career path. Her tastes in middle school and high school started to veer towards higher fashion. She discovered Vogue at 15 and saw a feature on John Galliano and some amazing hats that sealed her deal. She headed to Philadelphia University to study Fashion Design and came into the work force as a sketching, working, designer. Via a curving path she worked her way into styling jobs and eventually landed a coveted gig at a costume workshop. There she gained important hands-on skills, learning how to sculpt fabric, feathers, sparkles and adhesives into film, television, and stage-ready costumes.

Examples of Fay's gorgeous costume work.

Fay's learned skills are her wardrobe's best friend. She's developed an eye for great pieces and she knows how to make them even greater. She often scores items at thrift shops and vintage stores and alters them with stitches and hems, updating them just enough so that they seamlessly blend in with her newer stuff. That cape she was wearing when we met? It was her mother's maternity coat, worn while Fay was still a little bun in her oven. Fay shortened it and now rocks it herself, sans bun of course. Fay also applies her handiness to jewelry, altering second-hand scores, or making things from scratch.

A gorgeous white Victorian lace dress that Fay transformed into a favorite shirt by attaching the hem to the waist. It's delicate and well-loved.

A dress from the '30s that Fay altered for a costume party that she attended as a bearded lady. I love that the girl can also pull of female facial hair (see evidence below). Love it.

In Fay's closet what isn't hand made or scored on thrift adventures, comes from more common places. Fay makes good, albeit spare, use of the usual suspects. Her closet does contain the occasional off-the-rack find from Forever 21 but those pieces are few and far between. She prefers items with a bit of history.

Fay's Mom's cape. It makes her feel mysterious. She was under there when she was still a little tiny belly-dweller.

Some of Fay's jewels including vintage rings, a collar necklace, and a pin, as well as a fringed necklace she made herself.

Fay's super taste doesn't stop at clothing either, she also has a knack for decor. Her digs are temporary right now, but oh-so-covetable. She's staying with an amazing event-planner friend who has used his own skills to make their Brooklyn apartment into a third-floor walk-up cabin in the woods of sorts with lots of hunter green, antlers, and stuffed (not like fuzzy) animals everywhere. Fay's corner of the place is a Morrocan/gypsyesque room decorated with scarves, scraps of specialty paper, thrifted lamps, and fur throws.

Shots of Fay's gypsy inspired digs.

Fay is sweet as sugar, but spicy enough to have some flava'. I think she'll like that assessment, and I like her and her style so it all works out just fine for us. I'm going to follow Fay around some more, appoint her my Brooklyn tour guide, and learn some of her mad skillz. Of course, dear readers, I will keep you posted with ample posts about it all. We're just getting started!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

What a wonderful article on Fay. She has such a special talent. She also has painted on canvas. Some of her works sold in Philadelphia.