Thursday, December 9, 2010
PAMELA SKAIST LEVY: SHE IS A SUN; RADIANT, GROWING, GATHERING LIGHT AND STORING IT...
Pamela Skaist Levy is the American dream all tied up in a little Prada-clad shell. Once a dragging, Vans-wearing, skateboarding Valley girl and now truly one of the world's leading taste-makers, aesthetically gifted style icons the world has ever known. I am lucky enough, in my own adventures in life, to have been able to work with the two Juicy Couture fashion game-changers closely for a few special years. The first thing I learned was that this isn't a world to conquer and fight, it is a world to enjoy and a playland of opportunities day in and day out. Something inspirational is not just a sight but can be turned into a reality - it could actually follow you home. You don't have to stop laughing and grow up as an adult. You can be the Mad Hatter and live in Wonderland and not have to "stop the nonsense" as Alice's sister told her under that tree.
On this journey you can also become renowned fashion designers all the while creating homes just as inspiring. That gift lives within you at work as well as at home, if only you bring that inspiration with you everywhere. While most working people sat in their gray cubicles, I got to encounter two of the most hilarious, talented and smartest pulse-makers many may never meet in a lifetime. They make accompanying them on a trip to the doctor one of the best days you can remember.
Pam is a rare breed. She studied fashion, worked in retail, brought sushi to customers at Sushi on Sunset, had a leading hat line and has never given in to the "corporate" feeling of working as an adult. But while perusing Slim Aarons books...just when you think she isn't listening, she took in everything you said and more, made changes and delivers a better version in seconds.
Pam and Gela created Juicy with their bare, perfectly manicured hands and later sold to Liz Claiborne and for years Liz struggled to keep up with their eye, their creativity, their forward thinking and their idea of company love. In January 2010, P&G left the brand. They had conquered the world with Juicy (and then with Couture Couture, Dirty English and Bird). They lived a fashion life around 15 years that most designers live in a lifetime. They were ready for Chapter 2. So are we.
I have some of my most cherished memories shopping at antique stores with Pam. Her eye is a like a chic-magnet. She is as fast at zeroing in on things as she is at decision making. Suddenly, we were leaving with gorgeous dirty-mirrored furniture, giant chunky sparkling cuffs but also vintage crystal encrusted tiaras that were sky-high. She decides it would be perfect to wear for 4th of July. She is generous, kind-hearted and as visually iconic in person as her purchases.
Here I share an exclusive beauty interview with Pamela...accented by photos provided by her which makes her answers visually come to life:
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE LIPSTICK / LIP PRODUCT?
I have two favorite lip products. I have to name them both as I can't decide and I love them equally. The first is chapstick/lipgloss that makes your lips soft and glossy...you can buy it anywhere. And it is great for day. Vaseline lip therapy in cherry. Don't knock it until you try it. My other all time favorite is Tom Ford lip color in "Vanilla Suede"...I have been looking for the perfect "Bond girl" nude, and ladies, this is it. Matte but not too drying. Perfection in a tube. The packaging is so chic - white, rectangle, banded in gold and the lipstick is stamped TF. Too divine for words. Makes the tube of Vaseline look pathetic. Don't judge a book by it's cover.....all the time. Ha Ha...Your lips will thank you for both.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE, MOST BEAUTIFUL SIGHT?
My favorite sight is the sea. I am a beach baby through and through. Before I broke my ankle (skim boarding), I would go surfing all year long. I had a group of girls that would go out New Years day...we called ourselves the "Polar Bear Club". Just the other day, I took my skateboard outside and my husband said "What are you doing with that? You are going to break your hip." Tres sad. I think I am a teenager, but the truth is, I am an immature 47 year old geezer who loves surf culture and the beach. I guess I should stick to beach walks but my 74 year old mother still boogie boards. I know where I got my love of the sea from.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE BEAUTIFUL PLACE?
My favorite place is my pool...lame, I know. But I am a water baby through and through. My girlfriend Jacqui Getty and I wallow in that pool and gossip. We have also been known to jump in at parties, fully dressed. I swim everyday, and last week, swam with a cold and now am sicker than sick. I don't care if I put in a hideously long day at the office, after dinner the family swims. I grew up in the valley where it is super hot and we lived in the pool. The photo is from Paris Vogue. They flew me up in the air with my husband hanging off the basket of the balloon and he dropped into the pool...dressed in a three piece suit. It was a great shot. We are a wacky family and it shows.
WHO IS YOUR FAVORITE ARTIST?
My all time favorite painter is Mark Rothko, an abstract expressionist whose paintings are so hauntingly beautiful I could just die. The painting I am standing in front of is one of the Rothko's downtown at MOCA in the permanent collection. I love to go and stand in the Rothko room and feel overcome with emotion. His work evokes pure emotion. So spiritual, I always leave thinking "yes, there is a God." I wish I felt like that at temple...instead of feeling like I was sitting in detention. Mark Rothko is a super cool Jew.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE BEAUTIFUL OBJECT THAT YOU OWN?
My favorite object is a Francois-Xavier Lalanne crocodile bench. I have a pair and would have sold my soul to the devil to own them. I love the whimsy and beauty of the work. French chic from the 1960's at it's finest. Francois and his wife Claude created whimsical, sensual sculptures in the 60's that was totally irreverent and fun, They lived by the credo "the supreme art is the art of living". I'm sure they knew how to live and were fun to hang out with. If you don't know the work, google it. Tom Ford has the most insane desk. I would love to steal it.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE NAIL POLISH?
My favorite nail polish is clear....boring, I know. But I have a tip for nail polish lovers alike. This product makes your nail polish last and last. Clear or blacker than black. A coat of Dabu and you stay chip-free. Polish this nail hardener over dry polish and your nails will stay chip-free for a week to ten days. For someone like me, who will have chipped nails in a day, this is a miracle in a bottle. Amazon.com carries it so stock up my pretties.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE ANTIQUE STORE?
My favorite crack den is Kentshire. Not only do they have the finest antiques, but the most insane estate jewelry. It is so expensive but beauuuutiful. It will break the bank, but to go and look, spending a few hours with Fred the owner is like being in a museum. I love to go and say to Fred, "Can I have that for free?" - he doesn't laugh but I know he thinks I am a funny nut and proceeds to show us all six floors of the most divine stuff. Gela and I always go to Kentshire when in New York and drive Fred crazy. Then we go back home to LA and prank him on the phone asking him if we can have stuff for free and we can get the same stuff on ebay. I know he loves us cause we are not uptight and adore his shop sooooooo much and tell him nonstop. Kentshire rules.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE MOTTO?
"The question isn't who is going to let me; it's who is going to stop me." - Ayn Rand
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE BOOK?
"The Beautiful and the Damned" by F. Scott Fitzgerald
I also want to share a personal PSL story for this blog of beauty. I went with Pam one afternoon to pick up my beloved yorkie, Ruby, when she was ready and old enough to come home to me. We both fell in mad love with her and she came to work with me everyday thanks to the sweet P and G. One afternoon, Pam and I went to her parent's home in Encino which is in a cul-de-sac and Pam urged me to let Ruby free, since I am such a crazy overprotective mother (and still am!!). Ruby took off. Ran like the roadrunner towards the street corner that led to the busy and deadly Ventura Blvd. Tears streamed out of my eyes at the impossibility of her safety at that moment but Pam took off - ponytail flying in the wind, Lanvin sandals flying off her feet and grabbed and saved Ruby's life. How can I ever forget this? She promptly directed me to Rite-Aid to buy a LEASH. Ha Ha.
"Beauty is only to be admired; only to be loved - to be harvested carefully and then flung at a chosen lover like a gift of roses." - F. Scott Fitzgerald
We can't wait for the next bouquet.