Showing posts with label personal history. Show all posts
Showing posts with label personal history. Show all posts



R.I.P. Mac 1998 - 2014. 
 Mac the doordog at Tom of Finland Foundation passed away  last week. 
He was very old and had a long happy life, and will be missed. 
so long buddy.




Photograph by Danielle Levitt
Photograph by Danielle Levitt
It was only when she moved to New York with her family, living at the Chelsea Hotel, that she went back to her fashion roots, starting with accessories and developing her own brand at a time when business was good. “So now we are in Los Angeles, it’s Thanksgiving, 1978… I opened a store, “Too Soon to Know” on Santa Monica boulevard a few blocks away from Maxfield. And I’m selling the Michele Lamy sunglasses collection and accessories there, and I had along a little collection and some fun clothes from “Le groupe des Halles” of Paris, Colette Nivelle, Yvan et Marzia, and Goldie from Milan… But of course all seemed quickly obsolete in the California environment, so I got a few ideas and started the Michele Lamy clothing line in ‘81 that lasted 10 years. I only sold in the States with a showroom in NY… It went very well…and that’s how and why I met Rick Owens, before the little Café des Artistes and Les Deux Cafés. 
I wanted to do some men’s clothes so I needed some boys to do it…and I got Rick Owens along with his sidekick, Rick Castro — Good Rick and Bad Rick. Don’t ask me how we got where we are now, as it will be longer than my usual thousand and one night’s tales.” 
( do you want me to tell you how you got there Lamy?~ RC)

 “Les Deux Cafés – that started like a side project, as there are always side projects – plenty of them. I closed down the Michele Lamy line to let the Rick Owens enterprise “éclore” [bloom]. Hollywood is full of the most interesting and fun and creative people…it was so much fun to build that place from an empty parking lot and have a party like that in your own house every night. Endless stories and not only about movie people…and knowing clever, charming farmers delivering late at night to make sure not to miss the bar scene… The garden grew so fast over the asphalt and I was wearing my Rick Owens running on super-high heel clogs from the kitchen to the microphone. Joni Mitchell was having breakfast at 8 p.m. and then would be singing at 10. Sharon Stone could not remember the words of her songs even though she wrote them. Those were the days, and for Rick and I life was also sometimes tough, you know? But we had the beach on Sundays.” When Rick Owens finally opened his first store and launched his brand, there weren’t, and there still are not any advertisements for his brand, team, or store openings. The glamour of fashion seems not to interest them. That same glamour is absent in their private life: “It’s a very traditional way: the wife is in the kitchen…whatever there is to do…and the wife has dreams and intuitions! Muse o’clock! Digital or not there are designers of their times that make a revolution because they are in touch with the past and the future and have the feeling and the talent to do it: Coco Chanel, Rei from Comme, etc…. Rick has it in a more philosophical way… (in contrast to these revolutionary women). He gets to you in an insidious super modern way… to make your body “chalouper.” And when asked which muse could represent Rick Owens’ woman, she answers: “Kate Moss.” Kate, get your body ready to chalouper



 Kinky Community Unites to Help Fetish Fashion Elder--   

Online fundraiser at   

There is a campaign on to assist Jeanette Zinkan aka MISTRESS ANTOINETTE, 
the fetish fashion pioneer, now in her 70’s whom those in the know acknowledge as the person most responsible for bringing fetish dressing out of dark closets and into the light, sparking the public’s imagination.  

The campaign was started by Ms. Zinkan’s daughter Tiffany and former porn stars Annie Sprinkle and Veronica Vera. Ms. Sprinkle, are among those who acknowledge Mistress Antoinette as a muse.   Dr. Carol Queen, founding director, Center for Sex and Culture states, "There's not necessarily a retirement plan for culture-changing community leaders who have helped make our world more sexually diverse and positive. When someone like Mistress Antoinette needs help, it's only the community she helped create and people who enjoy the world she influenced who will step up to make a difference." 

 In the 80’’s, Ms. Zinkan and her husband Dr. Richard Zinkan, aka photographer Master Zorro, created Versatile Productions which published Reflections, “the magazine of the exotic lifestyle”, and made videotapes that shed light on BDSM and fetish themes. They paid homage to people such as Bettie Page and recognized them for their contributions to modern culture, long before Hollywood jumped on the bandwagon. “I referred to their company as a kinky conglomerate” says Ms.Vera, “but Dick, liked to call it “a mom and pop operation.”  Ms. Zinkan began designing fashions for their readership and before long, Ms. Antoinette’s Versatile Fashion label became the focus of the company, which specialized in skin tight pvc garments, for women, men and transvestites. 

Their bullet bras and costumes influenced, and were worn by, rockstars, including Madonna. The company became famous for its line of authentic wasp waist corsets which crossed over into the mainstream and were the first of that kind sold by Victoria’s Secret. Ms. Antoinette created an annual Dress To Thrill Ball and fashion show weekend (DTTW) in California and later Las Vegas. A video produced by Versatile Productions that is posted by the Leather Archives and Museum on youtube documents that 1997 Dress To Thrill Weekend The striptease artist Dita von Teese is featured, as are latex designer The Baroness and sex educator Ducky Doolittle. The video illustrates the high energy and uninhibited erotic style of the times.

 In 2006, after a long illness, Richard Zinkan died, and medical expenses, plus a robbery, a flood and other business reversals decimated the Zinkan’s finances. Until recently, Jeanette Zinkan lived with her daughter Tiffany and family in Mormon country near Salt Lake City, Utah. “My daughter and her family are not Mormons”, said Ms. Zinkan, “but almost everyone else in the town is, so I’ve kept a low profile. “ Ms. Zinkan began to exhibit signs of Alzheimer’s that necessitated she move to an assisted living residence. The purpose of the GoFundMe campaign is to assist in paying for the medications and treatments that doctors say will slow the progress of Alzheimers, and as stated on the site, “keep Ms. Antoinette’s beautiful memories alive.”  Now that word has begun to spread of their heroine’s predicament, members of the alternative lifestyle and fetish fashion communities are spreading the word and rallying support. Ms. Zinkan is receiving calls from colleagues and friends with whom she’d lost touch. Her spirits are lifted. “I feel humbled, grateful and overwhelmed, “ said Ms. Zinkan.  “Jeanette had begun to doubt her choices in life,” says Ms. Sprinkle. She’d thought that because she was broke, her work had been of no use. The truth is, she brought many, many people lots of joy, sexy fun and liberation. The money will be a big help, but what is even more valuable is the rise in her own self esteem and human worth as Jeanette hears from fans and friends.” In her professional life Ms. Antoinette signed all her letters with the words, “I care", says Ms. Vera, "Now she is learning that others do."  

The campaign has also changed the dynamic between mother and daughter. Until now, daughter Tiffany had only negative feelings about her mother’s career, seeing it as a hindrance to her own desire for a more traditional life. “I felt Versatile had sucked my parents dry, and after my dad died and my mom was so alone and left to her own devices, I thought her career was a fantasy and a sham. Now, I am thankful. As contributions and heartfelt letters of gratitude arrive, Tiffany has begun to appreciate Ms. Antoinette and to see the benefits of life in the public eye, even if that life was in a catsuit and 8 inch heels. 

 Also supporting the fundraiser are Urban Tantra's Barbara Carrellas, the author of the Ethical Slut Janet Hardy, sex educator bondage artist Midori, former porn actress Veronica Hart, performance artist Shree Rose, sexologist Dr. Carol Queen, sex worker activist Scarlot Harlot, Kinky Salon producer Polly Superstar and many others.   

on a personal note~ when i was a stylist way back in the 80s, my partner MICHI and i would take trips to VERSITLE FASHIONS on a regular basis. we would borrow, rent and purchase fetish gear on a regular basis for all our shoots including herb ritts fashion campaigns, videos for pat benatar's "sex is a wepon", and tina turner. 
we attended one of mistress antoinette & master zorro's private parties and had the time of our lives!
i even have photos!



 The New York Historical Society recently obtained some great “Old New York” photography—beautiful shots of the ladies from New York’s formerly infamous Meatpacking District. Though it’s now one of the trendiest (and most expensive) neighborhoods in the city, in the 1980s, the Meatpacking District was the most notorious destination for sex clubs, drugs and prostitution, particularly from trans people. Many of the sex clubs were even forcibly shut down during the height of the AIDS scare by the Koch administration.

(on a personal note~ i lived across the street from the meat packing district during the 80s. 14th st. & 11ave.
directly across the street from the vault. my fave fetish bar/dungeon, located directly below J's bar.
my apart was a single room with shellacked brick walls and a homemade murphy bed. it was ugly with a capital U.)
rick castro
It’s a contentious part of the city’s history, and although the characters who populated that part of town at night are long gone, Jeff Cowen’s photographs are proof that they once existed. :
When New-York Historical acquired these images, Jeff Cowen included a typewritten, four-page narrative he titled “The Drag Queen Stroll.”  In it, the artist details his subjects from their first-hand accounts and his point of view, utilizing an abrupt writing style that’s reminiscent of the Beat Generation.
Cowen maps “The Stroll” from 17th Street and 9th Avenue, running west to the Hudson River, to the southern edge of the Meatpacking District on Gansevoort. His writing draws on the rampant homelessness, drug use, prostitution, theft, and assault in this area at night, which serves as a sharp contrast to the union workers and family men who work in the meat markets and warehouses during the day. Cowen calls this area “a haven for the largest transvestite subculture on the east coast.” And with the advent of crack and HIV/AIDS in the 1980s, he says “the cost of sin has never been higher.”