What are some of your favorite spots in your East Village neighborhood? Where do you go to have a casual drink? To dance all night?
“I love to get a soy cappuccino from my favorite cafe Tarallucci E Vino. It’s Italian owned and the coffee is on point. Also, there are delectable pastries made daily by a French chef. I love Quintessence Raw Food for their American style burger, Angelica Kitchen for their Wrapsody wrap, Sapporo East for their delicious sushi, and Franks for their home-made pasta. For a casual drink it’s Esperanto, their Mojitos and Caipirinhas are delicious. For a solid “dance all night” moment, it’s Smiths’ night at Sway—you just can’t argue with reliability!”
Above, left: Vashtie’s Levi’s and Yohji Yamamoto ensemble, modeled in her kitchen with Pierre Hardy platform sandals. Above, right: Vashtie stretches in her TopShop long-sleeved body-con dress.
Can you give us a little overview of what you’re working on at the moment?
“I’m fresh back from a trip to Trinidad where I worked on some special projects with legendary photographer Jonathan Mannion. Q-TIP and I are planning our new party in the city. Violette [Vashtie’s clothing line] is in production for a couple of summer T-shirts with the re-launch of the website coming soon. I’m directing my first film at the end of the year/early next. I’m a brand Ambassador for Heineken. I started a new Tumblr which will be dedicated to vintage pieces that will be for sale on VioletteNewYork.com.”
Above: Vashtie is wearing a vintage Wu-Tang T-shirt, vintage Levi’s cut-offs, and black platform patent leather Air Force 1s.
You’ve got a lot of young girls copying your style. Who did you want to dress like when you were growing up in Albany?
“Wow, I had so many style inspirations growing up. For one, I wanted to dress like my big sister, Savie. She was seven years older than me and wore denim cut-offs, denim jackets, concert tees, and flipped her long curly tresses to one side. I was also inspired, growing up in the Hood by baggy jeans, Timbs, North Face Jackets, Polo, gold jewelry, and Rough Neck style. I was also obsessed with Nike and Jordans since they were the epitome of cool and represented wealth, none of which I had.
“I watched a lot of music videos (like most kids in the ’90s) and loved Kurt Cobain’s style. His nonchalant approach to fashion created a major movement. I also absolutely adored Bjork (and still do). She’s so forward, unpredictable and creative; One day she’s wearing a karate uniform and the next she’s wearing a straight jacket! I was also inspired by Patra and her dance-hall meets grunge style; poom poom shorts, combat boots, and body suits.”
Above, left: Pentax camera on tripod, carnival mask, Midi keyboard,and artwork by Vashtie’s God-Daughter Amaya. Above, right: Vashtie is wearing a Grey Antics chambray dress paired with a vintage Chanel leather and brass wrap bracelet.
You’ve worked with so many artists in the music and fashion industry. Who’s your next dream collaboration?
“In music, I would absolutely love to work with Bjork. I’ve been a fan of hers since I was little. I also would love to work with Robyn, The Weeknd, Kanye West, Frank Ocean… too many to name really.
“In fashion, I’d love to collaborate with Supreme, Marc Jacobs, Alexander Wang, Rachel Roy, Pierre Hardy, Mark Fast, Jeffrey Campbell, Doc Martens, or Toms Shoes. Those are some of the brands (designers) that I really love and trust.”
Above: Inspirational magazines, Jordan 2 samples, original Pee Wee Herman doll, and Vashtie’s camera collection.
On her couch, Vashtie sits pretty in a vintage kimono-styled wrap, a Temperley London belt, and Burberry Prorsum boots.
You threw some seriously rad ’90s parties at Santos Party House. What are some of your favorite fashion trends from that decade? How about favorite songs and TV shows from the ’90s?
“Thank you! Yes, I have a such a love/hate relationship with that decade which I believe makes it a true love. My favorite trends from that era are: Polka-dots, Jordans, biker shorts, motorcycle jackets, rugbys, baggy clothes on girls, neon, flip hats, worker shirts with name-tags, Riot Grrl, army boots, denim cut-offs, chokers, stripes, grunge & gangster!
“I actually have more favorite albums than songs, since in the ’90s you had to endure a whole album for one favorite song (unless you recorded it off the radio or someone made you a mixtape).. Bjork ‘Homegenic’ and ‘Post’; Nas ‘Illmatic’; The Cure ‘Disintergation’; Stone Temple Pilots ‘Core’ and ‘Purple’; Notorios B.I.G. ‘Ready To Die’; Tori Amos ‘Little Earthquakes’; Sublime ‘Sublime” Tricky ‘Maxinquaye’; Supercat ‘Don Dada’; Radiohead ‘OK Computer’; Nirvana ‘MTV Unplugged in New York’; Massive Attack ‘Mezzanine’; Mary J. Blige ‘What’s The 411’; Lauryn Hill ‘The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill’; Gangstarr ‘Step In The Arena’; Elliot Smith ‘XO’; Bad Religion ‘Recipe For Hate’; Camp Lo ‘Uptown Saturday Night’; DJ Shadow ‘Entroducing.’…
“Some of my favorite shows were; Saved By The Bell, Living Single, My So-Called Life, In Living Color, Married With Children, and The Fresh Prince Of Bel Air.”
Above: Vashtie’s workspace.
Tell us your soundtrack for:
Getting ready to go out: “‘Murder She Wrote’ - Chaka Demus & Pliers.”
The last song of the night: “‘Shake The Disease’ - Depeche Mode.”
Walking the NY blocks: “‘N.Y. State Of Mind’ - Nas.”
Above, left: Vashtie poses in a Motel jasmine knit turquoise sweater and vintage Levi’s cut-offs. Above, right: Vashtie’s record collection and record player.