Exclusive: Michele Lamy Is Your Anti-Spiritual Guide
It has become cliché to say that one is a person of many talents, but the statement couldn’t ring truer for Michele Lamy. She’s a restaurateur and a former cabaret dancer, a mystic shaman and artistic muse for the likes of her husband, designer Rick Owens, and friends like A$AP Rocky. Yet what separates Lamy from her peers in the artistic world is her inherent sense of spirituality, an enigmatic quality that is manifested in her extravagant jewelry and carefully placed inked markings on her face and hands.
Naturally, these qualities make Lamy an ideal candidate as a portrait subject. Her latest work can be seen in the photo campaign for Byronesque x Hotoveli, a very special fashion collaboration between the online purveyor of vintage goods and the West Village boutique. Lamy, together with her campaign co-star Marina Abramovic, was called upon to highlight what Byronesque editor Gill Linton calls the same dark “aesthetic and attitude toward fashion subculture” that unites the two companies.
At the launch of this collaboration, Milk Made’s Jake Boyer caught up with Lamy to share a cigarette with her on the sidewalk. They chatted about everything from her role in the collaboration, her thoughts on the creative process, hanging round the house with Rick Owens, and the art of picking wild mushrooms.
I understand that tonight’s all about the counter-culture, but what do you think it is about counter-culture that keeps it one step ahead? Why do you think we look to it for inspiration?
Oh my God, that’s very philosophical. I don’t know. It’s because people want to leave their mark, especially now. There’s an inundation of what is old-fashioned, and with the media now, everything is happening immediately. It’s a breath of fresh air to think that there are things that delve a little more underneath the surface and people are following their own feelings. What they are doing here is putting that fit onto the brand. We cannot forget when something means something. When you think fashion, it’s so frivolous, but when you look at the past, it’s about marking your time. People are doing it, like artists, they are living with their time but giving us an idea of what’s going with their time. It’s difficult to see it on the spot except when someone makes a real revolution, like Coco Chanel did, you can see immediately when there’s a change in the picture. So it’s a good image to do it with the fashion.
You have a hand in a lot of different creative outlets, what do you think makes fashion and design special?
Well I’m not a designer per se, I make things happen. I’m more like a producer. So because of this I think I have a good eye. When you make things, you can feel it, what is right, what is super good, what is not really interesting, you get a pulse on something. There’s so many things that I don’t understand, but I feel it.
Where do you feel it? In a certain spot? Or is it more spiritual?
Nothing is spiritual. You feel like you want to go somewhere, you get excited, and you make it happen. Just make things happen.
Do you ever find yourself lacking in creative inspiration? If so, how do you get it back?
I never feel that. (Laughs) I would be desperate on the street if I didn’t have my creativity. I’m always excited by something.
I know you have a background in cabaret, can you tell me a little about that?
You know, I’m always doing things. People tell me ‘we’re going to pick up a mushroom.’ I go pick up the mushroom. I go sometimes. But I don’t get close. I like to mix around. You know A$AP was here and I do things with him, I was in his movie, I’m on my way to go see Twigs, I should be in the next video if I’m not cut from it. I like to participate with people in a certain way and push into certain directions. It’s to keep some kind of through line when I do things.
What could we expect you and Rick to be up to around the house on a day off?
Well, there are no days off. They’re always on. But what do we do? We do the gym. Sometimes together, but usually not, because I’m boxing. We see what we are doing next. We go to the beach, too.
Can anyone be an artist? Or can only some of us access that creativity?
There is no measurement. I think anybody could, but for me, the creation is in a lot of places. There are artists that are sort of leading the way, but in our own life, we can reinvent a lot of things.
Is there something you’ve done in your life that was particularly challenging?
I like to think if there is something on the sidewalk and we say ‘what can we do here? What can we do with that?’ So there is always something that can be done.
Go see Byronesque x Hotoveli‘s collaboration at Hotoveli’s West 4th Street location in NYC until June 5th
Read out interview with A$AP Rocky here
Photography by Justin Westover