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A chat with a bat

20 January 2010

Author : maxadmin

You may know her best for her styling and photography for LURVE, for her line of leather-and-chain body harnesses, or for her uncompromising personal style shots. But if you’re on the internet and have an interest in modern fashion, there’s no way you could have failed to come across some facet of Zana Bayne.

With stints working retail at Consignment by Eva Gentry in New York (and those familiar with Garbage Dress might remember the days of DIYing around Harputs Market in SF, when the precursors to her new line of body harnesses were first developed) and with an editorial featuring Yuri Pleskun due out in the new issue of LURVE, Zana’s December was a little on the hectic side. Fortunately, she put some time aside to talk about why optimists always come out on top, how she became a New Batcave style icon, and of course, what makes Nick Cave the perfect man.

“I’ve always considered myself both an optimist and a realist, and haven’t felt the need to mimic the coldness that often comes with the fashion industry,” Zana says. “No matter where I’ve lived or how I’ve looked, my personality stays the same – however, I have found this a point of interest when observing others. I think it is so silly when individuals who consciously dress in an attention-inducing way act standoffish towards those who ‘happen’ to notice. Chances are that if you look out of the ordinary, you will attract extra stares or comments, so it’s silly to ignore that all together.”

Some people might hesitate to don a dress with a giant emoticon of pyramid studs bedecking the front, but from Zana’s point of view, welcoming any potential raised eyebrows is the first step in amassing a club kid army.

“I’ve never experienced what it’s like to blend in, or to go through life without the occasional eyebrow raise,” she says. “It’s easy to presume that standing out can cause negative repercussions, but personally I just see the positive. You are remembered. I am a social person, and as someone who just moved to New York, having a distinctive looks is a very good thing. As far as initial interactions, things can go two ways: intimidation or attraction. Sometimes I feel very unapproachable, but other times I feel like my appearance invites people in for commentary or conversation.”

The earliest posts on Garbage Dress, from June of 2008, bear the marks of a strong vintage influence that today has mostly dissipated, settling into a more nuanced appreciation for the finer points of ‘80s Batcave. Today her look is more geometric and daring (check the photographic proof!), but, as Zana says, “I’ve never definitively settled on one particular look.”

“I think of personal style as an evolution of taste, interest, and confidence. I’ve always liked looking ‘different,’ but my initial interest in designers came as a direct result from working at Harputs Market in San Francisco. I was practically living in an environment surrounded by Martin Margiela, Hussein Chalayan, Bless, Yohji Yamamoto, Comme des Garcons…I came to value quality and ingenuity, and was inspired by how those designers envisioned ready to wear. Another contributing factor is my love for the flamboyant side of nightlife. I’m a sucker for sequins and dramatic silhouettes. One way that I’ve been able to throw all of these influences together is through the usage of black. I find the color extremely liberating. Through wearing black, I can put together textures, angles, cuts, shine and shape while still holding my look together. In a sense, black binds it all together.”

Scattered among the party photo ops and DIY projects, Zana’s music recommendations point her visitors towards killer bands like 45 Grave and Gun Club. As with her personal style, the Goth influence is palpable, without overwhelming her other interests.

“I find it much more interesting to combine influences than stick to one overarching subculture,” she says. “I love bats, but couldn’t care less about a crucifix. I refuse to take part in anything tarot or ouiji, yet I don’t have a problem with black lipstick as a ‘day’ look. Maybe it’s just a coincidence that some of my favorite things – animal bones, George Bataille, Nick Cave, black leather harnesses – are categorized as ‘Goth.’ When I was in high school, I remember idolizing the full on 24/7 weeping willow Gothic goddesses in corsets and velvet, yet I never felt the urge to maintain that lifestyle (however I worshipped Tim Burton and did own a pair of black angel wings – true story).”

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