A Night in the Life Of: One-Half Nelson

Joseph Alexiou

We here at PAPERMAG are thrilled to introduce to you a new blog series, A Night in the Life of, wherein writer Joseph Alexiou will be regularly chit-chatting with some of the biggest players in the New York nightlife jungle. Here's his first installment.

Nightlife personality One-Half Nelson is obsessed with his looks. From his signature handcrafted headpieces ("hats" are an understatement, darling) to his love of vintage frames and will-make-you-gag genderfuck ensembles, this designer, couturier, and virtuoso of the visual arts showcases on his own personal runway every weekend at Mr. Black. Which is why with Fashion Week commencing, we thought he'd be a great Night in the Life of subject to begin with.

Who do you think is the most visionary person in fashion right now?
Hmm this is a tough one, I feel like there's so many people that are visionary in different ways, in their different markets. Right now, one of the people I'm really into is Gareth Pugh. Also last season the McQueen prints were absolutely amazing. They were based on car wrecks -- really intricate layers and layers of prints. It was like a kaleidoscope. For me, it's always been about British designers -- they constantly push the envelope.

How does it feel to step into public with looks that most people can't fully comprehend?
That's kind of the point of the look -- that's the reason you do it -- a garment of clothing isn't really a look until it makes people question it. Without that, it's not really a look to me. My philosophy is about speaking to people visually. It's all about first impressions and communications -- one thing everyone in the world has in common is wearing clothing. Clothing communicates ideas.

Who do you look up to in the nightlife/NYC world for guidance and inspiration?
There's always Mother Flawless Sabrina, who is like the great grandmother of all of us. She is a fucking powerhouse of one and has always been a voice of guidance. But then also today it's the DJs. They determine the mood -- where the night is going, the party and nightlife is going. Nightlife is based on the music.

What is the biggest faux pas for someone to ask or tell you while you're on the floor?
For me its "move out of my way" -- that's it. Something that Ladyfag pointed out that gets to me now is when someone calls me "cute." It's like they're trying to make themselves feel better by being so patronizing. It's always these young girls that see you in drag and scream "Oh my god!" at you. It's not that remedial, actually take a moment to get into my look.

Fashion Week begins today. What's the biggest problem in fashion right now? Who's doing it wrong, and why?
That's a very tough question. I've always had issues with the American fashion industry as a whole. I feel like it focuses more on the manufacturing and selling, and not on the design. It's almost like you're viewing the ego of the designer than the design yourself. You're not designing for an idea or a philosophy; you lose sight of the art.

Photo by Dex Star G

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