Rusted Revolution x Posso
In the most major Rusted Revolution artist feature to date, I had the ultimate privilege of styling the lovely ladies of Posso for a collaborative photoshoot and interview with Fresh Musikk. Read on to learn more about my experience, discover the faces behind the name, and see some amazing photography…
I pause before a giant wooden gate situated in the back streets of Silverlake, a quiet suburb of Los Angeles. Unsure of how to enter, I reach between thick, perfectly trimmed hedges and grope for a lock. My hands clasp a string and I lift the latch, entering a small and secluded front yard. What lies before me is so beautiful it could be fake – a ripe orange tree shades the lawn, bathing the entire scene in liquid gold. Perfect lighting for a shoot, I note to myself.
I approach the tiny house with some hesitation, peeking into the window and tapping lightly on the door. Everyone was out late last night for the girls’ performance with Sex Panther at famous Hollywood haunt Supper Club. The stillness is almost eerie, until I see a flash of pale skin and dark hair. Dressed in a fluffy white robe, Marylouise breezes up to the door and lets me in. “We’re still getting ready” she explains shyly. She already looks beautiful. Her equally stunning counterpart, Vanessa, peeks out from around the corner with a smile, presumably primping.
I take a moment to take everything in, inhaling the clean, sweet aroma emanating from several lit candles strategically placed within the space. “I feel like I’m in a spa,” I say. Marylouise laughs and continues to get ready, leaving me to marvel at this exquisite interior.
With white walls and a neutral color scheme, the atmosphere is serene and clear with nothing loud or obnoxious about it. I am surprised as I imagined the home of two fierce, globe-trotting girls to be dense and cluttered. Large windows and high ceilings create the illusion of infinite space. An immaculate ivory grand piano shelves a polished collection of candles, glassware and other exotic trinkets that I can only assume were acquired during travels. A loveseat rests against one wall and a hightop table and chairs serves as a perfect conversation nook; in this case, it becomes a serving station for the mimosas which Jason carefully prepares for each of us. I peek into the kitchen and smile at the sight of a large, newspaper-covered elephant head mounted above a tiny stove. The entire aesthetic is build around a sort of feng-shui, with Asian and European elements fusing spa-like qualities with a sexy, antique feel. This is not only a home, but a quiet, comfortable, and clean space – a peaceful haven providing shelter and equilibrium from what can oftentimes be an exhausting and chaotic lifestyle.
I unload two duffel bags of clothing and chains onto a fluffy bed, which of course is white as well. Please let them be impressed, I pray silently.
Marylouise Pels and Vanessa Giovacchini are two women with a tireless work ethic and enough of that “je ne sais quoi” factor to make any girl jealous. “We make music, we design, and we travel the world,” the two explain, situating themselves to a more comfortable position on the loveseat after a successful photoshoot involving multiple poses, outfits and jewelry changes. The girls look stunning, but visibly tired from the previous night’s performance and a whirlwind travel schedule. They are only in town for a few days before jetting off on the next leg of their tour for a five-day stint in Colorado.
Between headlining performances in some of the world’s coolest cities, multiple magazine and blog features (check them out on the December/January cover of NYLON Singapore!) and collaborations with companies like Volcom, it’s obvious Posso is killing it. Naturally, channeling a passion for music, fashion and travel to create a career with your best friend sounds glamorous, but make no mistake, these two certainly worked hard to make it happen.
Both Sonoma Valley girls, Marylouise and Vanessa first met in a ballet class at the age of four. They remained acquaintances as they got older, but officially found each other as high school sophomores when they bonded through a self-described “weirdness,” growing together in their sense of style and self. “Marylouise was constantly exposing me to new music” explains Vanessa.
The girls journeyed to separate colleges but remained close friends with connective interests that they would eventually make their career. It only seems fitting that the integration of music and fashion was an obvious move for the two, as natural as the girls’ relationship itself. Together, Marylouise and Vanessa decided to launch a line of spats about five years ago (spats are foot covers traditionally worn by soldiers both for safety reasons and social symbolism, fastening over the instep and ankle – pretty rad and pretty rare in the fashion world). The music soon followed; Marylouise began DJing locally and Vanessa joined almost immediately, creating the designer-DJ duo extraordinaire we know as Posso. So So what does Posso mean, exactly? “‘Posso’ is Italian for ‘I can,’ explains Vanessa. “We wanted something sexy, straightforward and positive.”
One would assume that dipping their toes in such diverse ventures would be, at times, overwhelming. I was curious to know how the girls so effortlessly balance work, play and personal time. “The important thing is knowing when to say ‘no,’ Marylouise explains with a carefully calculated expression. Downtime is filled with spa days (the girls like to frequent Koreatown for facials, clay treatments and massages) and kicking it with family and friends in an intimate setting. “We might seem put-together now, but there was a time when our finances and living situation were uncertain…we weren’t sure if would make it [in LA]” she reflects. We all laugh, as Jason and I empathize with this all-too-real notion. You can’t knock the hustle, especially in a town where everyone is trying to make something of themselves while looking impeccable doing it.
It’s hard to imagine the ladies of Posso ever doubting their success, as they’ve already achieved so much. One of their biggest moves in 2012 was a collaboration with legendary surf and skate mogul Volcom. In a S/S ‘12 capsule collection with the brand, Marylouise and Vanessa designed a range of fashionable and functional pieces for both day and night – inspired by their always-on-the-go lifestyle. The collection is no longer available (which I am still bumming hard over) but in response to my question as to whether there is any particular career venture they would like to further explore and develop, the girls assured me that fans can expect more Posso designs very soon. After all, fashion is an integral part of the Posso aesthetic and brand.
Whether intentionally or otherwise, it seems that the girls are adopting their role as budding “fashion artists,” each with distinct yet complementary styles: Marylouise, a bit sexy and boudoir-inspired – Vanessa, a bit sophisticated, chic and refined. “I don’t even know what’s trendy these days,” Marylouise laughs, when I ask what’s on their fashion wishlists at the moment. “Maybe a black leather baseball cap? I don’t have the time to read magazines or shop.” Vanessa nods in agreement. This is baffling to me, but I know that they MUST indulge in a little shopping now and then. “Here in LA, we like Wasteland and Squaresville for vintage and the Rose Bowl has awesome furniture and cool antiques,” Marylouise says. “But our all-time favorite is this little lingerie shop on 8th and Los Angeles St., I don’t remember the name.” It seems she is hesitant to reveal their secret spot to me. “It’s where we go to pick up all the essentials – tights, socks, bras, everything.” I nod in understanding – the girls have a definite preference for the visible lingerie trend; Marylouise wore some superb fishnets while performing at Supper Club the night before and both girls seemed to gravitate towards lacey, satin and sheer pieces I laid out as outfit options for today’s shoot. “Anything cool you found abroad?” I ask. “We were loving these amazing shopping centers in Korea,” the girls gushed. “Everything was completely cluttered into one space and there were no storefronts, but we found some amazing accessories.”
I try and transition towards discussing beauty – one of my personal favorite subjects as a self-proclaimed product junkie. “I love Smashbox,” exclaims Marylouise as she shows me the brand’s Studio Pop Eye Palette, complete with a selection of dark shadows and cream liners. “I usually do a smokey eye.” “I love the cat-eye,” notes Vanessa, “I also like mineral makeup and occasionally I’ll do a bold lip for shows.” Marylouise also explains how she was able to get her acne-prone skin under control. “Regular facials and exfoliation is key…and powder foundation.” I ask about fragrance, which I like to think is a very personal representation of style and self. Tom Ford Black Orchid is Marylouise’s signature scent, while Narcisco Rodriguez suits Vanessa.
I prod further, asking what inspires them sartorially, intellectually and culturally. “Our travels, fashion and music definitely inspire us, but mainly our friends,” Marylouise humbly notes. “We know so many amazingly talented individuals and it’s awesome to be able to support them and their efforts.” I ask for specific names in fashion, music or pop culture. “Michelle Pfeiffer’s character in Scarface” gushes Marylouise, while Vanessa opts for classic Italian bombshell Sofia Loren. Both girls, admittedly, are Stevie Nicks fans. Jason and I eagerly concur as we all fantasize at the possibility of seeing her in concert with the rest of Fleetwood Mac in LA this coming spring – that is, if the girls have the time! It seems they are quite the jet setters these days, traveling on a regular basis to places people only dream of. I ask them to name a favorite spot, if they’re able. “Bali!” both agree. “It’s the perfect place to raise a family, we have a bunch of friends there too – many whose kids who actually attend our shows, it’s wild!”
With the option of living almost anywhere in the world, the girls have a surprisingly organic love for their home state. I ask if they would ever consider moving elsewhere, and they shake their heads without hesitation. “Not really, LA is the place for us.” We reflect on how many talented people there are in this city….people who work tirelessly and sacrifice everything to pursue their dreams; the result is an environment full of creativity, energy and synergy. I smile, it’s good to know that I’m in the right place. Any advice for people pursuing these dreams? I ask. I realize I am asking Marylouise and Vanessa, not for Rusted Revolution readers, but for myself. “Sometimes there are still days when we doubt ourselves,” the girls admit. “You have to constantly reassure yourself of your talents, remind yourself why you’re doing what you’re doing to begin with and how far you’ve come.”
Before styling the girls in Rusted Revolution chains galore, our photographer Jonathan Marlow was able to capture some amazing shots of Posso‘s home. We were particularly obsessed with the unique treasures and subtle details, such as this little piano display:
Vanessa (left) wears a Mike Vensel dress, Rusted Revolution Plunge Harness and Rusted Revolution Halter Harness (coming soon) – Marylouise (right) wears a thrifted bustier, Mike Vensel kimono cape, her own skirt and lace thigh highs, Rusted Revolution Mini Skull Baby Necklace, Rusted Revolution Skull Baby Necklace and Rusted Revolution Collar Harness.
We took things outside because the light was ethereal, adding some grunge touches with a vintage Levi‘s jacket and flannel!
In a second look, Marylouise (left) wears a Dimepiece leopard cap, CXC by Camila Castillo cage bra and fishnet skirt and a Rusted Revolution Spine Collar Necklace. Vanessa (right) wears a CXC by Camila Castillo halter, her own black pleated skater skirt and burgundy tights, Rusted Revolution Medieval Crown (coming soon), and Rusted Revolution Side Rib Harness (coming soon).
(Styling – Lucy McBride / Photography – Jonathan Marlow Photography)
While Vanessa and Marylouise might resemble models, they don’t just sit pretty – they produce some pretty amazing tunes. Incorporating groovy chillstep and electro house peppered with fun vocals and other audio tidbits, each one of their tracks is engaging, funky and danceable. Below is one of my favorite mixes from their performance Live in Hong Kong, titled “Bigger the Better:”
And another, total catwalk stomper, “Lick Shiny Disco Balls.” Need to bump this at our next fashion show:
Also be sure to check out Jason Hazzard’s article for Fresh Musikk HERE – he delves deeper into Posso‘s musical styles, variations and preferences.