Lori goldstein: american iconoclast / 180
Lori Goldstein is reclined in an Arne Jacobsen egg chair, swaddled in a colourful fur, while an East Asian statue peers calmly over her shoulder. Pointing her stilettoed foot towards the window of her Manhattan apartment, she says “So many people are worried about who is the next Kate Moss,” and shrugs, “But why? That’s been done. What I hope for our industry is that people will follow their individuality. We’re all on different paths – you have to trust yourself.”
Goldstein is a remarkable paradox in the fashion world. On the one hand, she is beloved by the fashion industry as a long-time contributor for style tomes like W, Vanity Fair and Vogue Italia and counts Hermès, Prada and Tiffany & Co among her clients. On the other hand, she is fiercely independent, carving a reputation out of fun and self-expression. She cares as little about the big bad “establishment” as a playtime-loving toddler cares that it’s “time for dinner” and therein, possibly, lies her enchanting appeal and the success of her 35 years as a stylist, iconoclast and fashion rebel.
Goldstein was born in Columbus, Ohio, and grew up in Cincinnati, where it was clear from a young age that she would follow unconventional passions. “I just had to get out of there,” she states. “At the time, where I was living, you were blonde and pretty and that was it, but I’m not that and I didn’t want to be.” She yearned for a change, and took comfort in the work of Diane Arbus, whose off-kilter perspective resonated and made her feel like she “wasn’t insane”.
Guided by her own pioneering spirit, Goldstein skipped the college track and ended up in New York City. “From the second I was born, I think I just had my own destiny. My parents didn’t know what to do with me, didn’t have any advice. It was ultimately lucky, because I wouldn’t have listened.” In the city, she began to work with Annie Leibovitz (a partnership that would result in dozens of culture-rocking images, including a nude, pregnant Demi Moore on the cover of Vanity Fair) and found the wealth of creative friendships she had been missing.
“We all were part of this downtown scene – CBGB and the Mudd Club – rather than, you know, being part of a magazine,” explains Goldstein. “It was just a free-for-all, with all of us discovering who we were and what we did. I didn’t know I was going to be a stylist. I didn’t even know there was such a job!” She mingled with NYC legends Joey Arias, Klaus Nomi and even Jean-Michel Basquiat, with whom Goldstein travelled to Hawaii. “It was genius,” she says, when she recalls watching Basquiat paint, “and it was how I saw the world, too – this kind of abstract kookiness.” A friendship with Steven Meisel blossomed. Among many photoshoots for Vogue Italia, Goldstein collaborated with Meisel on a Valley of the Dolls- inspired Versace campaign and an award-winning music video for Madonna’s Take a Bow.
Now Goldstein has come full-circle, bringing her eclectic vision to everyday women everywhere, through a collaboration with shopping channel QVC. “I’m connected now to this whole group of middle American women that I ran away from when I was a kid and what I’ve learned is, they love fashion as much as I do. That’s what I’m turned on by. My line with QVC is really the way that I’ve always dressed: non-conformist and unconventional, because women would always say to me, regarding colours and patterns, ‘I wish I could wear that,’ and the truth is, they can! That’s the point: anybody can!”