Mandy Coon used to make the kids dance as one of New York's hippest DJs; now she's dressing them (and still keeping them dancing, when she has time). Back when the city had a crush on electroclash and was rediscovering the merits of disco, Coon recorded and performed in W.I.T., a spunky dance duo whose brash beats skittered across Gotham's club floors in 2003. Even then, she was deemed fashionably forward by the style cognoscenti, asked often to collaborate with designers and shoe brands like Adidas. Soon, she flourished as a burgeoning design talent under the tutelage of her friend, Danish designer Camilla Staerk.
Now the DJ-turned-designer is widely accepted as one of New York's smartest dressers – her fiery red asymmetrical haircut alone evinces a strong and subtly sportive visual doctrine. It's no wonder her eponymous line, which launched in 2009 and reflects her own modern, musically-inclined aesthetic, has been snapped up by progressive retailers worldwide. Coon, weeks away from showing her Spring 2012 season (her fifth overall), hints to Rolling Stone where she's heading next in fashion and music, while feeding us her favorite tunes for inspiration.
Core influence(s) for Spring 2012: Crystal formations.
Most significant evolution since last season: I'm introducing more color for Spring.
Briefly describe your musical roots: I grew up in Texas in the '80s, so it was a mix of country and 80's music. I remember listening to Hall and Oates in my mom's light blue Mustang in the early '80s.
Current involvement in music: I DJ when I have time. I love it, and I don't have time for it as much as I used to, but it's really one of my favorite things. I have a real emotional attachment to music and I get really excited about songs that I want to play to make people happy.
Where music and design collide: I name every piece of clothing I design after a song. You can usually tell what I was listening to each season by the song names.
Musicians who have worn your designs: Lykke Li, Lady Gaga, Nancy Whang, Tennessee Thomas.
Musical style inspiration(s): Siouxsie!
Mandy Coon's Spring 2012 Inspiration Playlist:
"Crazy Love," Colder
I remember this from the early 2000s, which was a really interesting time for music. This song has really stuck with me. It's so good.
"Hong Kong Garden," Siouxsie And The Banshees
I absolutely love Siouxsie. What an amazing woman and artist. It would be hard for me to choose a favorite song from them, but this would be one of them. I grew up listening to Siouxsie and the music has really stood the test of time.
"Candy Castle," Glass Candy
She has one of the most amazing and expressive voices in music.
"Transmission (Joy Division Cover)," Hot Chip
I love Joy Division. And I love Hot Chip. Perfection.
"Everybody Loves You When You're Dead," The Stranglers
One of my favorite bands, particularly this album (La Folie). This is one of my favorite songs by them.
"Suthpin Boulevard," Blood Orange
I just recently discovered Blood Orange, and I think he's really talented.
"Lovely Day," Bill Withers
One of my favorite songs ever. Such a good song.
"Moscow Nights," The Feelies
The album Crazy Rhythms is one of my absolute favorites. I even named my company after a Feelies song. I saw them a few years ago on July 4th in New Jersey and they were incredible.
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