Accidental Icon Details: In the Aftermath of Terror

I always consider the aftermath of terror a kind of free zone. One where I don't have to do any work, where I can eat whatever I want and generally just relish in the glorious release of the tension and anxiety leaving my body and the luxury of a quiet mind. In the aftermath I can remember the small details that did not register during the panic and with a groan identify the lesson learned.  In the aftermath images slowly emerge like a polaroid photo and memory becomes accessible again. Somehow I wish I could learn to do this in the midst of the actual experience.

One image from last weekend's photo shoot that is now in bold relief is that of a small, yet intriguing woman, with a nose ring and a baseball type jacket decorated with sequined appliqués. Initially I though she was very young and maybe an intern as she in no way exuded authority nor was she conducting herself like she was someone important. She asked me what kind of music I liked for the shoot and being in the throes of terror I looked like a deer in headlights and finally mumbled "Rolling Stones". And yes, she had some. 

I remember now that as I was in hair and make-up, being photographed and interviewed, she was always there in my peripheral vision. I realize now that it was she consulting with the photographers and they consulting with her. It was she who approached and generously offered to take my picture for use on my Instagram. Something of course I should have thought of and didn't. She flipped quickly through my account and then produced photos using my iPhone that are among some of my all time favorites. I spontaneously yelled, "You really get me!" her casual response, "Well I looked at your Instagram". I asked her for her card, she grabbed my phone and put her information in.

Now for the biggest lesson learned: when you get a booking do your research! Although I visit with some amount of frequency so I am familiar with the content, for those who do not know, Refinery29 is a New York based fashion and lifestyle and commerce site. Launched in 2005 with a focus on emerging designers, independent boutiques and a mission to help readers develop their own personal style, the site currently attracts 36 million visits per month. The Webby Award winning content resulted in Refinery29 being named the No. 2 Most Innovative Company in Style by Fast Company Magazine in 2014. 

The woman I was mistaking for an intern is none other than the brilliantly talented Executive Creative Director and Co-Founder of Refinery29, Piera Gelardi. Now that I have done my research I want to be her when I grow up. As Creative Director she oversees all visual strategy and execution for the site including: branding, design, art direction, photography, video and casting. The best adjective to describe her and her mindset is independent. Giving millions of women permission to find their own style, Gelardi believes that style is deeply personal and what matters most is how your clothes make you feel. There is an aspirational component to the art direction and vision of the site yet it remains eminently accessible. It is quirky, provocative and fun. She sure knows how to tell a visual story. This leaves me musing about what story she had in mind to tell about me. I also wonder if she would let me be her intern this summer!

Accidental Icon Wears:

Top with Ruffles and Stripes: Comme des Garçons, Boyfriend Jeans: Paige, Sneakers: Converse/CDG Play, Earrings: Paris vintage.

Photo: Piera Gelardi

Is there a young woman in your life who inspires you?


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