Michele Lamy

“Belief is a way to express a memory of your genes.”

Michele Lamy

Michele Lamy is one of those few real eccentrics that fashion world left to us. She is best known as wife, muse and creative accomplice of fashion designer Rick Owens, but she has been a clothing designer, performer, film producer, and restaurateur. She was one of the emblematic figures of Los Angeles underground night city in the middle ninetieth as she was the owner of the famous cabaret-restaurant “Les Deux Cafes”, a successeful club situated in a parking lot. Between 1997 and 2003 you could find her in this club until she left after meeting Owens through his then-boyfriend and hired him as a patternmaker for her own line, Lamy. In 2003, and by that point heading up the successful Rick Owens label, the pair migrated to a five-storey mansion in the Seventh Arrondissement of Paris where they now live and work.

About this woman, with the tattooed fingers and gold plated teeth, had been said a lot: she’s Algerian, a gypsy, she was born in a resistance camp in occupied France, was raised by wolves in the Ardennes, she’s an arms dealer, a vampire, a witch and she’s 1600 years old. The truth is she’s Parisian and used to perform in a cabaret. As she said talking about her life “In my twenties, I wanted to escape my rich provincial upbringing, so I abandoned studies as a defence attorney to striptease. I was involved in the May, 1968 protests in Paris, and in the early seventies I wanted to be Bob Dylan. My thirties were spent living the Californian Dream surrounded by artists, and giving birth to my daughter Scarlett Rouge. My forties were an entrepreneurial era in Los Angeles where I met my honey, Rick Owens, and I will spend my fifties enjoying life with him.”

The strange couple Michele Lamy-Rick Owens seems to be the perfect pair ever. Although there were rumors about Owens homosexuality he said “Frankly, in the beginning, I made a point of bringing up my sexuality just because I wanted it before anyone else could. I was with Michele and hated the idea of someone whispering to her “you know, I think your husband’s gay”. I was going to say it first. I didn’t want anyone to think they could embarrass me or Michele.” Sexuality doesn’t seem to be a problem as they complete each other perfectly, both in private life and work: “It’s kind of like asking a fascist and a gypsy to organise a war together,” says the designer, “She’s just so generous and so flexible with deadlines and I’m not. She likes the complexity and eccentricity of working with artisans and I don’t always have the patience for that. The furniture is customised, esoteric, involves rare materials. She loves that.”

Owens described her as “a mesmerising sphinx. I’m so fascinated by someone who acts completely on instinct and feelings, where I’m so pragmatic and sensible and kind of, compared to her, boring and conservative.” Actually she really looks like a sphinx, wearing a kind of egyptian Nemes (Klaft) in black and wearing a vertical line painted on the forehead: “it’s symbolic”, she said, “it’s what keeps me grounded.” As a sorceress, Michèle looks at the occult as a part of our humanity, she has a collection of voodoo masks and pieces of anthropological artifacts that she finds alluring. She dresses as Goddess, a shaman and when asked if she ever subscribe to any superstitions cult, pagan, occult or voodoo, she answered: “Belief is a way to express a memory of your genes.”

sources:anothermag.com; oystermag.com; interviewmagazine.com; what’scontemporary

“A little bit eternal”, mini film about Rick Owens and Michele Lamy by Danielle Levitt for AnotherMag

Michele Lamy and her husband Rick Owens

watch the video on What’scontemporary

Aesthete. Art historian & blogger. Content creator and storyteller. Fond of real and virtual wunderkammer. Founder and main author of rocaille.it.

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