How did your parents influence what you wanted to do with your life?
Well, having both your parents be painters it makes you really want to be in the arts, and do something creative. But it also makes you want to rebel. For me, that meant not wanting to do something so solitary. For me the challenge of working with a larger group of people, that was what was exciting.
What was it like growing up in middle of the 60s New York art scene?
We lived on the Lower East Side until I was about 8. I went to a lot of openings, I hung out all the time with Robert Ryman's kids... it was a whole world.
From left: James Mangold with his parents in 1965; Robert Mangold's Irregular Gray Area With a Drawn Ellipse, 1986
And your dad was friends with Sol LeWitt, right?
Oh, yes, he was one of my dad's best friends. I went to a lot of Jets games with Sol and my dad.
Do you collect art? Are you interested in art?
Sure, I love art. And of course, I have my parents' work in my home! And Sol's and.... but I'm not at the point now where I can really collect.
Later on, you guys moved out of the city?
Yeah, we lived in a town called Washingtonville that's home to a lot of cops and firemen from New York City. Nobody there got what my parents did. My parents have a very, very rewarding life and do beautiful work, but growing up, one of my critiques of my parents' world was that it was elitist, that it only speaks to a small sliver of the world. Doing something that could reach everybody else was very driving to me.
On the set of Knight and Day
What was the first film you ever made?
When I was 15, I made a sci-fi film with my dad's Super 8 camera, called Space Cabbie. I built this cab-spaceship in our barn, and my dad let me build it out of some old paintings that he didn't think were good enough. I painted over them and glued little plastic buttons on them. Later, I joked for years that it was probably my most expensive film.
Do your parents see your films?
Of course! They came on set when we were shooting in Boston. My dad's a real movie buff so he loves it.
Diaz and Cruise in Knight and Day
Photos: Mangold family: John Sherman. Painting: Courtesy Pace Gallery.
In general, things are booming. Her workshop and showroom on West 36th St. is so busy that next month they're moving across the hall to a new space twice the size. "We've been on a hiring binge," she says. "We had a stretch where I think we had a new person starting every Monday." Now Kim has produced her first resort collection. "Last year we did just a few, but it did so well we're doing a full line for the first time," she says. Here, a few highlights:
These hats will not be in stores until November; check ShopBop and Net-a-Porter for a selection from Kim's Spring/Summer 2010 collection.
From left: Balenciaga fall 2010; Maison Martin Margiela fall 2010
The news about the Lauder contract has been everywhere.
I used to see Estée Lauder's ads everywhere in the subways of Beijing, and I thought how wonderful it would be if the model on them was myself! Now that this dream has come true, so I'm sincerely happy.
What do you remember about walking the Chanel and Louis Vuitton runways for the first time?
I remember that 2008 was my first try at walking the international runways, and also my first time at Chanel. There was a carousel there that looked like it came out of a fairytale. First time at Louis Vuitton was Spring 2009 season, and I remember that the colors of the clothes were very dreamy.
From left: Vogue Portugal November 2009; Barneys spring/summer 2009 ad campaign
What's it like when you return to China? Do fans recognize you?
I think people first started recognizing me around two years ago. First in small clothing stores, then others would check if I was Liu Wen when I went to see movies, and now even when I step in Starbucks in China many people recognize me. I think people recognize me sometimes on the streets of New York and the Paris subways, too.
What does your family do? Do you have sisters and brothers, and do they live in China?
My parents are very humble people who have simple lives...they live in a pleasant little town in China. No one else in my family works in the fashion industry. I'm the only child.
The young future model
How does your family feel about your modeling?
They are very supportive of me modeling, not because they want me to become a huge star...but just as long as it makes me happy. During the hardest times they always encouraged me to stay strong.
In W's March "Chic Mystique" portfolio by Mario Sorrenti
We heard that before you were a model, you were a tour guide.
I studied tourism in school and had plans to become a tour guide, but truthfully I never really worked full-time as one. My first real job was as a model.
What do you think you want do do after a career in modeling?
Modeling definitely won't last for a lifetime, but I think I will continue to work in the fashion industry somehow afterwards.
What do you like to do on a day off?
Exercise, surf the web, and cook delicious Chinese cuisine!
Backstage at Twenty8Twelve's fall 2009 runway show.
What's your favorite unhealthy food?
French fries and ice cream.
Tell us something about yourself that would surprise us.
Even if I eat a lot of ice cream I still won't gain weight—and ice cream can get me pretty hyper, whereas coffee actually puts me to sleep.
Tell us one or two of your beauty secrets.
Drink lots of water, eat lots of fruit—and rest well and whenever possible!
Check back next week for the latest installment of The Skinny. And see all our previous model Q&As here!
But we also had a chance to get a closer look at the designer's new loungewear/lingerie collection, 3.1 Phillip Lim Initials. (As in, it's the first, "initial" layer that goes on your body.) What we love about it is that it's something a girl can wear without feeling like she's trying too hard. After all, an Agent Provocateur lace corset with garters isn't for everyone.
Everything has that invitingly girlish-yet-slightly-boyish feeling, and though it's all very pretty, there's not one piece that asks you to sacrifice an ounce of comfort. The collection, which also includes supersoft t-shirts and cardigans that double as robes, has just hit stores, and is available at lagarconne.com; net-a-porter.com and the 3.1 Phillip Lim boutiques.
Follow Wmagazine on Facebook... for your own good!
See more excerpts from Tory's cyber scrapbook below. The entire package will be posted on Tory's site this Friday.
Even during the Nutcracker run, you're going to school every day. What's that like?
After a 6pm performance, I get home at like 9, I do a bit of homework, and usually go to sleep. If I don't finish my homework I just go to sleep and wake up early in the morning and finish it. It's not too hard.
What about the days when you're not performing?
I have dance classes six days a week. An hour-and-a-half every day, and two hours on Wednesday. But it's not too much or anything. When I get home, I just, like start playing the piano.
What school subjects do you like?
Oh, I love to read! When my teacher gives us a half hour of free reading time, I'm just so happy. And I love math. We're doing fractions right now.
Maria in the party scene of Act 1 of "The Nutcracker"
What sort of projects are some of your classmates at Professional Performing Arts School doing?
A lot of them do commercials and modeling. And a lot of my friends are on Broadway. One of my friends is in Ragtime, and in the 7th grade someone's in The Lion King.
Are you a fan of Hannah Montana?
I don't usually have time to watch TV and I don't really look up to singers, actually. I look up to dancers that are in the company, like the Sugarplums and the Dewdrops.
So, no Jonas Brothers?
[Makes a face.] We share lockers at school and I share with a girl who does like the Jonas brothers, so you see half of our locked filled with pictures of stuff like the Jonas brothers, and the other half with like, ballerinas and a picture of Julie Andrews in the corner. I love Anne Hathaway and Julie Andrews.
What about like, the Twilight movies?
My friends at school are so into it, they make Twilight signs, and I'm like, "What are you doing?"
Where does this dancing talent come from? Are there other dancers in your family?
No. My aunt is a doctor and my uncle is a dentist, and the other half of my family is dentists.
Photos by Paul Kolnik (Production), W Magazine (Portrait)
Why do you blog anonymously?
It allows me to be invisible when I go to events so I can play by my own rules. Also, freedom of the press in Italy is not quite the same as in the States. The slander laws here are so much tougher. You have to really be aware of exactly what you're implying in your writing, or you can run into trouble.
How long have you been living in Milan? You come across as such a blend of American and Italian.
I've been here since November 2006, and I'd been living there for about 9 months when I started Opera Chic. I mean, I love Barbaresco, ravioli di zucca and Loro Piana cashmere [laughs] but being in Italy makes me so proud to be an American, because we have such an open and accessible culture. Americans are so much more progressive.
How often do you go to the opera?
At La Scala, I see basically every production, which gets really expensive. I also go to a lot of recitals. Between La Scala and Milan's other classical music venues, I would say that I see an average of two classical performances a week.
What's your take on the very public, very nasty breakup of Roberto Alagna and Angela Gheorghiu?
Let's just say we've never seen anything like this in the opera world before. It's gotten really ugly, kind of like that movie The War of the Roses with Michael Douglas and Kathleen Turner.
Who have the fans sided with?
Roberto, he's much more sympathetic. He's come across as less angry, less vitriolic. Angela is fighting dirty -- she has basically said to the press that his family is poor and trashy. But really, neither of them are handling it gracefully.
Who are the new talents that opera fans are excited about these days?
German tenor Jonas Kaufmann is on the tip of everybody's tongue in Europe and he has the voice to back it up. There's also Italian tenor Vittorio Grigolo, who's probably my personal favorite. He has charisma in spades and has a good crack at the lucrative American market. Then there's Kate Aldrich, an American mezzo who's the full package. She's gorgeous, smart, and has a knockout voice.
How would you describe the difference between New York and Milan audiences?
Both audiences are conservative, but audiences in New York are much younger. I would venture to say that Italian audiences, although they are probably more willing to accept change on the stage, often overrate their own knowledge, and they might be less intelligent than they think they are.
What do you mean by that?
Well, they're more willing to accept something provocative on the premise that it's the more intelligent way of doing things. For instance, all that controversy at the Metropolitan Opera this year over Luc Bondy's production of Tosca. The Italians wouldn't have reacted as strongly.
Let's talk fashion, Milan versus New York.
Audiences at La Scala are definitely more dressed up and the threshold of dressing up really doesn't end. You see a lot more black at La Scala, too, pretty much all the women come dressed in black.
You must just cringe when you see Americans at the Metropolitan Opera showing up in sneakers and jeans.
Sure. But you know, I'm basically in agreement with wearing what you want to. The opera world in general needs to be more progressive. A few years ago [La Scala's general manager] Stephane Lissner had strict dress code rules printed on the back of the tickets that basically decreed black tie for premieres, and jacket and tie for all other performances. They've since revised the rules and made them more generic. People just wouldn't care otherwise. And then you see the painfully overdressed tourists in tuxedos and gowns for some fifth-replica of an old Rigoletto. But then it's probably their debut at La Scala, a big deal. I felt intimidated too, the first time I went.
You really took the gloves off in your review of opening night at La Scala earlier this week. You called the director, Emma Dante an "amateur" who swindled Scala "into paying her big bucks for something so painfully off the mark." Any thing you want to add to that?
Look, Dante was hired because at La Scala, after having secured two huge stars for the lead men roles (Erwin Schrott & Jonas Kaufmann) and a star conductor (Daniel Barenboim) they wanted a director that offered them a safe way to look cool -- something that would look "edgy" when it really wasn't. Carmen can't become one of Dante's plays, no matter how hard you try; and Barenboim was there to declaw Dante's more radical ideas. In the end, what we got was a Carmen with cartoonishly animalistic women characters, where in a seriously skewed (and very Italian) perspective, fierceness replaces actual independence, and violence against women looks somehow cool. It's feminism for Misogynists 101. It went down like a charm here.
Check out Opera Chic.
Do you ever get stage fright?
You know, I've never been nervous to an inhibiting point, even when I was a kid dancing The Nutcracker. For me, it's not nerves as much as adrenaline. If I'm prepared, I shouldn't be nervous.
Leonard, left, as Cherubino, with Emma Bell as the Countess
Even at your Met debut?
Well, I think I was prepared for it, so I wasn't really nervous. Those horrible dreams singers have are usually about being unprepared -- like you're being thrust onstage and you don't even know what opera you're singing. I've had those dreams!
What are some of the other common opera singer nightmares?
Oh, there are several. There's also the one where you're handed a score and for some reason you can't read it and the conductor is looking at you, like, "Sing!"
Being married to an opera singer and being one yourself, do you guys listen to a lot of opera at home?
Oh god, no. After singing it all day that's usually the last thing I want to hear. It drives me crazy when I go visit my mom and she's playing opera -- I have to say, "Mom, please!" I listen to a lot of jazz. I still prefer listening to Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Sinatra, Etta James and Sarah Vaughn than anything else.
Tell us about Teddy.
We met the summer before last in Santa Fe and just got married last December. I think cupid had it out for us. He was singing Billy Budd and I was singing Cherubino. We were sort of avoiding each other, like high school kids with a crush. Finally, his director who must have seen me lurking around at rehearsals told him, "You have a fan -- she's been here every day." In any case, we met and sort of fell into each other immediately.
Are you going to sing together sometime?
Well, we'd be happy just being on the same continent, or the same state, maybe. This summer I was in Salzburg and he was in Australia, it was wretched!
It sounds like you had a really bohemian, artistic upbringing.
Yeah, well, I grew up in Chelsea in a walkup apartment. My dad was an artist and my mom, who's from Buenos Aires, is an intellectual with a huge artistic passion. I've always been very happy painting, singing, dancing. I'm thinking of finding a pottery class now because I'm dying to do something with my hands.
Leonard's next performance in Figaro is Friday, October 9. The production runs through December 12.
Previously on the blog: A W staffer goes gaga for maestro Gustavo Dudamel
Production shot: courtesy of the Metropolitan Opera; Tahu: Gaye Gerard/Getty Images
From left, Wood's "Max's Kansas City" and "The Roxy"
"I wanted something that was good quality leather, that was big enough to carry magazines, books, gym shoes—everything that I lug around town." When she couldn't find anything exactly right, she sketched a design and, using leather from a small tannery outside of Solofra, Italy, had a bag made for herself. Her resulting line of slouchy, edgy hobos—all logo-free, many of them peppered with strong hardware accents—have since been picked up by Bergdorf Goodman, Barneys New York and Fred Segal.
Wood's best-seller, the "Bowery"
Because Wood, who is 5'9", based her design on what she craved herself, the bags are quite large. "I've been hearing that they're perhaps a little too big for some people, so I'm adding smaller versions for spring," she says with a laugh. Those who love the look of her original bags need not worry, however. "They'll be the same shape, just smaller."
A sneak peek of one of Wood's spring bags, "Cat's Cradle"
Alison Wood's bags are available at Bergdorf Goodman and Neiman Marcus. See alisonwoodnyc.com for more information.
Our friend Kate Moss out on the town, disguised as a small, long-haired animal, and getting ready to film a comedy sketch with pal Katy Brand. You heard that right. (UK Pop Sugar)
The New York Post isn't going to be the same without Liz Smith. But we are confused by Liz's description of her work as "philosophical." (Daily Beast)
A Chanel Segway? We'd say this was a joke, but apparently not. (The Cut)
"Reality" show and Stylista ugly twin, the Style Network's Running in Heels, is apparently a snooze, even for fashion magazine obsessives. (Fashionista)
Finally, at least once a day, we often ask ourselves, "What is WRONG with people?" Today, after reading Joyce Wadler's NY Times story, we were nearly speechless. See anecdote re: pet baboon putting his "steel-like fingernails" through his owner's scrotum. (NYT)