Triskaidekaphobia's Tiffany Gong and Christina Rodriguez Talk Phobias and Fashion
Since meeting as interns at Anna Sui in the early aughts, Tiffany Gong and Christina Rodriguez have been taking the city by storm. Between the Six Six Sick parties they host around town (the shindig won PAPER 2007 Best New Party at the Nightlife Awards), as well as their DJ gigs, blog, and freelance fashion projects, they've got a dark-yet-whimsical jewelry line, Triskaidekaphobia, that counts Daisy Lowe and Russell Brand as fans. Somehow they found time in their busy schedules to chat with PAPERMAG about Triskaidekaphobia (no, they're not really scared of the number thirteen), their top fashion inspirations, and the craziest looks they've ever rocked at their party.
Can you tell us how you got your starts in the fashion industry?
Tiffany: I actually studied Art History at Swarthmore College, but got my start as an intern at Anna Sui, where I also met Christina. From there, I started designing, and ended up going back to FIT to study jewelry design.
Christina: I started out interning at Anna Sui and working at Screaming Mimi's doing sales and visuals
How did you get your starts in jewelry design, and when did you decide to start Triskaidekaphobia?
Tiffany: We had both been working as jewelry designers separately for about four years, while we were both working together on the Six Six Sick parties. We knew that we worked well together, and it seemed like a natural decision to start designing a jewelry line together. Christina: I started my own line for Screaming Mimis, and with the success of that paired with Six Six Sick, we started Triskaidekaphobia a few years later to combine our jewelry skills.
What was the first piece of jewelry you designed for the line? Do you have a favorite piece you've ever created?
Tiffany: The first pieces were the teeth pieces, which are amongst our favorites, and our best sellers.
Christina: My favorite piece is probably the extra long tooth necklace.
What was the inspiration/starting point for your fall collection that's out now?
Tiffany: We did two groups. The first was inspired by sea monsters and ship wrecks, and the second was inspired by Jim Henson's film The Dark Crystal, and the jewelry from the Showtime television series,The Tudors.
Christina: I grew up by the beach, so I have always loved the scary creatures in the ocean. I was never really a seashell and dolphin type of girl.
Are you actually scared of the number thirteen, as the line's name implies?
Tiffany: No, it just seemed like the appropriate outgrowth of Six Six Sick, and our play on unlucky numbers. I don't have many irrational fears, but I really hate reptiles, especially frogs! Christina: I have a long list of phobias. I'm afraid of lizards, the dark, Freddy Kreuger, and soggy bread.
Can each of you briefly describe your personal style?
Tiffany: Eclectic, and constantly changing.
Christina: I have always been a tomboy, so I wear a lot of menswear, but I try to mix in femme accessories.
Do you have any style icons, past or present?
Tiffany: Isabella Blow and Daphne Guinness.
Christina: Tina Chow.
Are there any designers out there that you're particularly excited about, or do you prefer to wear vintage and/or make your own clothes?
Tiffany: I love vintage, and making our own clothes, but there are plenty of young designers to be excited about right now! My current obsessions are Mary Katrantzou, Risto, Rodarte, and my friends Joseph Altuzarra and Rodebjer.
Christina: Alexander McQueen, R.I.P.
You make all of your clothes for your parties. Can you share a memorable style moment from one of your parties?
Tiffany: We always try to make our own outfits for our parties. One of my all-time favorites was an Alexander McQueen inspired look that we made out of a cut-up swim-suit display bust, which we transformed into a breast-plate corset.
Christina: My favorite look was our beat up 30's Hollywood glam look. We made evening gowns and wore our hair up in pin curls, and then we used Halloween makeup to make it look like someone beat the shit out of us in a back alley.
Tiffany, you often feature shots of your own street style on your blog. How do people out-and-about react to your unique style choices? What do you think of the recent explosion of street style blogs in general?
Tiffany: In New York, most people don't even look twice, but once I step out of the city, I definitely get a lot of funny looks. As for fashion blogs, I think that they're the future of fashion press, and the mainstream media is just catching on to how powerful and influential many of these bloggers are.
What are your favorite places to shop in New York?
Tiffany: Seven, Opening Ceremony, Barneys, Convent, Screaming Mimi's, Maryim Nassir Zadeh, Life Curated, and International Playground.
Christina: Opening Ceremony, Screaming Mimi's, and Convent.
Do you have any favorite magazines, blogs or other publications that you regularly turn to for inspiration?
Tiffany: I read all the fashion magazines, but I tend to favor blogs, and real girls like myself for inspiration. There are way too many incredible and inspiring blog ladies to name, but my favorites sources of inspiration are Susie Bubble and Michelle from Kingdom of Style.
What's next for you girls and your jewelry line? Any plans to expand to other accessories or Ready to Wear?
Tiffany: Maybe one day we'll move into clothes, but I'm very happy with concentrating on jewelry for now.
Christina: We're working on a few collaborations right now, so you will have to wait and see!