Ever wonder what the kool kids are up to in NY right now? Well, if they know anything at all, they’ll be stopping for a strong cup of coffee and a fashion marathon at the studio of hot brand of-the-moment: Priestess NYC. It’s fun, it’s kitsch, it’s totally great for getting that gobsmacked-in-awe reaction from your friends at a party, and it’s run by one of NY’s zaniest (and blondest) fashion boys – Cody Ross (Jedward would be seriously jealous of his hairdo). Lydia Hearst fronts the new campaign shot by Terry Richardson and popstrels like La Roux and Katy Perry are snapping up his bright prints, playful dresses and kooky 80s-inspired pieces. Naturally, we just had to track Cody down (and his puppy Hanzo) to find out exactly what Priestess is all about…
Grazia Daily: With a revival of all things 80s this season, you must be loving it! What is it about the decade that so interests you?
Cody: Umm, Sixteen Candles, Ferris Bueller, The Breakfast Club, Duran Duran, Pretty In Pink and Molly Ringwald. I’ve just been nostalgic for 80s stuff since I grew up in that era. And I’m really bonkers for jelly bracelets, punk clothing, big hair, spikes and bright colours.
Grazia Daily: And will we be seeing shoulder pads at Priestess NYC anytime soon? Maybe Joan Collins could pop by your studio.
Cody: Haha, coming soon!
Grazia Daily: Pop stars love Priestess NYC. You've got La Roux, Lykke Li, M.I.A, Katy Perry, Björk and tons of other ladies hooked – what is it that attracts the girls to your collections?
Cody: Hmmm, seems to be the fun versatility of the styles. The range is accessible and the pieces are easy to mix and match. There is a quirky, directional sensibility that makes the styles a bit more edgy and nuanced, too. And the clothes are sexy, cool and comfy!
Grazia Daily: Model Lydia Hearst fronts the new cool campaign shot by Terry Richardson – tell us about it. It looks like it was a hoot!
Cody: Fun. Wacky. Wild. Lots of hard work. A hoot, indeed!
Grazia Daily: We know you *heart* all things kitsch and count photographer David LaChapelle, designers Jean Charles de Castelbajac and Jeremy Scott amongst your influences. What is it about this aesthetic that keeps you inspired?
Cody: I’m drawn to the freaky and outré. It‘s just fun! I like incorporating ornament, humour and paradox into the range. Kitschy stuff can be silly, obviously, but also very stimulating. To that end, I used both over-scaled 'blow fish' imagery for SS/2010’s multi-hued cotton jackets, and a quirky neon-coloured sea creature-print for cotton/canvas toppers. For me, kitsch is all about audacious shock-and-awe and a good dollop of risk-taking.
Grazia Daily: A chaotic and random environment seems to motivate you too - what's the weirdest thing that's happened to you this week?
Cody: Ummm, my puppy Hanzo was chirping like a bird this morning. Really weird!
Grazia Daily: And what's the strangest thing to influence your designs?
Cody: I got hooked on the mathematics of dynamical systems, including ‘chaos theory’ and the imagery it produces when graphed visually. The actual name of something I’m currently obsessed with is called 'The Strange Attractor'. It’s basically a non-linear structure that embodies really freaky (non-Euclidean) geometry. Weird but beautiful and I’ve buried this idea in the silhouettes of clothes!
Grazia Daily: Wow, that’s a complicated one. So, give us a little breakdown of a typical Cody Ross day...
Cody: Wake up early and make strong espresso. Then read Grazia’s fashion commentary! Then read the FT. Then go to the Priestess NYC atelier and get into the creative process. The day is really about making super-cool clothes for super-cool girls and constantly improving and innovating. The ‘typical day’ is basically a marathon of sourcing and designing, punctuated with answering emails, calls and shipping-out orders. Oh, and hosting cool editors, clients and friends . .
Grazia Daily: You've spent quite a bit of time in the UK already, studying at St Martins and earning a degree from the London School of Economics (clever boy!). If Priestess NYC could be a London girl for the day, what would she do, where would she hang out or shop and who would she kick around with?
Cody: Priestess NYC would enjoy checking out the exhibits at the V&A and the British Museum. Then strolling over to the Tate Modern and maybe having a tea upstairs after perusing the works… then hiking over that Millennium Bridge thing. Later she’d go shopping in Soho and then cruise around Hoxton Square and eat at a really yummy Vietnamese restaurant. Then pop by Georgy Baratashvili’s new atelier for a quick hello and to browse the collections. Then go drinking at one of those wild Pony Step parties!
Grazia Daily: Who is your number one dream icon to dress?
Cody: Natalie Portman, of course! Or that really cool model Julia Goncharenko.
Grazia Daily: Ok, now for the quickfire round.... Gaga or RiRi?
Grazia Daily: London, Paris, NY or Milan?
Cody: London and NYC!
Grazia Daily: Tea or coffee?
Grazia Daily: Favourite Gossip Girl?
Cody: Blair, I guess.
Grazia Daily: Spandex or aertex?
Grazia Daily: Blonde or brunette?
Cody: Duh! Haha, both are cool!
Grazia Daily: Playsuit or business suit?
Grazia Daily: Wintour or Coddington?
Grazia Daily: Failsafe fashion trick?
Cody: Fingerless leather gloves.
Grazia Daily: Txt or call?
Grazia Daily: Favourite blog?
Cody: Grazia Daily!
Grazia Daily: Real or fake?
Grazia Daily: Top party tune?
Cody: Anything Depeche Mode.
Grazia Daily: Xmas or Easter?
- Hannah Almassi