Meet The Designer Resurrecting The Fallen Icons of The ‘90s
It’s no secret that the ‘90s are a source of style inspiration for many. But whereas most tend to stick within the safe confines of tattoo chokers—remaining always within arm’s reach of plaid skirts, squiggly Saved by the Bell-esque lines, and models in bathtubs—Eric Schlösberg takes inspiration from the ‘90s in its purest, rawest form. It’s darker and more self-destructive, certainly, but also abundantly more true to the decade.
In an industry largely made up of people-pleasers, Schlösberg has remained unwaveringly true to himself—which might explain his meteoric rise in popularity; he may be only on the heels of his second solo collection, but he’s already on the radars of anyone who matters in the industry. Schlösberg takes inspiration not from where he thinks he should, but from the people he’s instinctively drawn to. And it takes a quick once-over of his Instagram—peppered with stills of Anna Nicole Smith, Elizabeth Berkley in Showgirls, Dennis Rodman during his heyday, Pam Anderson and Tommy Lee, more Anna Nicole Smith, Marilyn Manson, Courtney Love, and Fran Drescher—to learn who these people are. If his Instagram acts as a sort of blueprint of his DNA, then his collections are a sartorial extension of that, keeping the fallen icons of the ‘90s alive one slinky sequined number at a time.
As a follow-up to yesterday’s photo series, we sat down with Schlösberg for a cute Q&A, which you can read in full below.
There’s always a narrative to your collections. Are you reading any books right now?
I really, really actually don’t like reading—that sounds terrible to say. Actually music is usually what starts my brain into planning these narratives. I was walking to work the other day and a song came on shuffle that I listen to frequently, but something about the energy was right—probably because it’s October. And it’s the song I’m going to use for my next runway.
So the theme of your first collection was the Upper East Side woman coming undone; and your last collection was inspired partly by Anna Nicole Smith. In your collections, there seems to be a theme of rich women…
…Coming undone? [Laughs] Well I’m from Miami so it’s something I think I just grew up around. Also, as bad as I feel saying I don’t read, I feel just as bad saying The Housewives—
Literally my next question was if you like The Real Housewives.
It’s literally my favorite show ever created. I watch every single city except for D.C.—those women were bunk. But I’m obsessed with the show, I think it’s amazing, and it’s the perfect portrayal of these women in positions of power completely coming undone.
It would be incredible if you could have them model your collection.
Oh, ummm, Tamra Barney in my collection is like the ultimate.
What other shows do you watch?
[My boyfriend] Logan and I watch WAGS, Rupaul’s Drag Race. I’m a really serious cook; I, like, turn up in the kitchen. So I watch a lot of Ina Garten, who I actually got to meet while working at Dover Street Market. So many celebrities [have] come through all of the stores that I’ve worked at in the past and I never freak out because I’m not normally celebrity crazy. Ina Garten came in and my whole body was shaking—I couldn’t breathe I was so excited. I told her I was her biggest fan and she was like, “Oh… fabulous…” and gave me such an up-and-down. But whatever. She’s so cool.
“The actual dream person for this label—like, the ‘girl’—is not a girl. [It’s] Alaska and Katya. When I design my collections, I’m like, ‘Would they wear this?'”
What movie can you watch 100 times and it’ll never get old?
Showgirls will never get old for me. Smiley Face by Gregg Araki. It is the story of my life. And almost every Katherine Heigl movie ever; I am a sucker for, like, zoning out and drooling on myself while watching a Katherine Heigl movie. All of her movies just seem to have that really brainless plotline that’s so easy to melt into. And I’m a big melter.
Love to melt. Were you into theater as a kid?
I was. It’s funny because I don’t go to the theater—[or] what people think the theater is. I don’t like musicals, but growing up I was into acting and theater and all of that. And it was in ninth grade that I started making the costumes for our middle school and high school show and doing the makeup for them.
Yeah I can’t stop looking at your makeup. You’re really good at it.
Thanks! I love drag—I love watching drag performances, Rupaul’s Drag Race. Listen, the actual dream person for this label—like, the “girl”—is not a girl. [It’s] Alaska and Katya. When I design my collections, I’m like, “Would they wear this?”
How do you typically source your fabrics?
Fabrics are really important to me. What I create is always pretty wild and out there; it’s the type of thing that you need to look twice at and I’m glad that you have to look twice because I want people to notice that the fabrics I use are beautiful. Everything is sourced from Italy. This last collection, those turquoise dragon shorts—that silk came from China; it’s a beautiful Chinese brocade.
Is there anything that kills you about the fashion industry today?
There’s such an incredible surge of young designers popping up all over New York City and the work they’re doing is incredible. And everyone is really excited—except when it comes time to actually support those designers and buy that brand and give the money back to the creative people who are trying to better the industry and also make change. I love that everyone’s excited about what the young designers are doing, but I wish that they would kind of put their money where their mouth is and make a difference, you know? And also, give us a break. We are struggling; obviously, it’s not an easy thing to do. So don’t ask for it on consignment; make a buy. If people want the creative industry to keep growing and evolving and [to become] something special then they need to step up and actually support and not just talk about it.
Logan opened a store because of [this]. Circe—which is the goddess of the earth I think? Logan is way into mythology. It’s a Moda Operandi platform, but for young designers. It’s awesome, and it gives us the opportunity to make pieces with no overhead.
That’s incredible. And on a different note, you’re getting married—on Halloween?
Getting married in full Galliano and fake blood.
Oh my god. Does Vogue have the exclusive?
Right? Every magazine that I’ve gone to [has] been like, so would you want someone to, like, shoot it? You should have someone shooting it.
Yeah, someone needs to get on that.
The royal wedding.
Images of Eric Schlösberg taken exclusively for Milk by Emily Spinner. Photos from Schlösberg’s show taken exclusively for Milk by Marie Tomanova.
Stay tuned to Milk for more of our favorite NYC icons.