Susanne Bartsch reminisces on her New York Fashion Week party that took place four days before while sitting on her couch in a Jean Paul Gaultier printed dress. "I instantly wanted to cry," she tells PAPER without taking her sunglasses off. "People were lifting me up. It was iconic and I felt like a brand new family was born that night."
Taking place at the height of a once again physical fashion week, the queen of nightlife celebrated her recent collaboration with footwear brand UGG in a very Susanne Bartsch way. Stars like Tommy Dorfman, Luna Blaise and Aquaria set their eyes on center stage, as Bartsch performed a cabaret-style show at Sony Hall. Downtown divas dressed in their very best latex looks; fashion folks flocked from their shows and flaunted their most eccentric looks. "I love UGG and that night was just electric," she says.
Bartsch stars in the next chapter of UGG's "FEEL" campaign, a series highlighting iconic leaders of culture. Known for breathing life into extravagant nightlife fêtes, Bartsch is also an early purveyor of supporting inclusivity and the underrepresented. Her 1989 "Love Ball," in particular, continues to be recreated to raise awareness and funds affected by AIDS.
She reflects on the party from her apartment in the Chelsea Hotel. Relics, some from when she first moved into the residence in the '80s, are placed around her living room. There's a painted man with a large phallus on the right and a woman wearing a robot corset accentuating her body on the left. There's a wall filled with photographs over the years and, if you look closely, you'll notice a photo of her son graduating school. Think Dorothy Vallens in Blue Velvet, except Bartsch emits a shade of red instead (and her bedroom is red, too.)
Perhaps the untouched magic in her apartment is the reason why it's the perfect backdrop for her campaign images. In a fur-lined coat donning the signature UGG boots and a blonde hairdo, Bartsch injects a hint of nightlife in the footwear brand. Below, she spills more about the collaboration to PAPER.
What're you wearing with your UGG boots?
Everything. [She points to her UGG boots sitting next to a pair of red patent leather shoes.] You can wear anything with them and they don't take over. It's the perfect marriage and you can wear them everywhere. Out at night, on the airplane, to dinner. I have three drags: Day drag, semi-drag and full drag — they go with all of them.
What was your first pair?
The classic beige ones. Then I got baby blue pair. Pink. I had all the colors. There's one old pair and I still wear it. No socks, nothing. It can be 10 degrees below and I won't wear socks with them. I want the leopard ones next.
"I have three drags: Day drag, semi-drag and full drag — [UGG boots] go with all of them."
What about this party with UGG? How was it?
You know, you can change the lights, change the sound — this and that. But you can't change the mix of the room and the energy that night was amazing. The people were electric. The people came so excitedly. We could've fucked everything up and they wouldn't have cared. They were so happy to be there.
What do you like about working with UGG?
I almost cried when I thanked them on stage the night of the party. I'm not selling anything, trust me. How UGG came into my life was so organic. How they handled everything with this campaign, it's amazing. So many other people will come in and arrange things — they want me to do this, be that. UGG let me do whatever I wanted and I was able to stay true to myself.
When they came to my house to shoot the campaign, I literally felt like I was just going about my daily routine. It was effortless and fun. They didn't move anything around, decide what I wore. It was natural. This is what this campaign is about. Feeling yourself, being about yourself.
What do you think it means for UGG to choose you as one of the campaign's faces?
First of all, I was extremely honored. Overall, the brand is truly about letting people interpret the brand in their own way. I guess it's the same way with styling the shoe, too. There's no one "right" way to wear it.
How do you think you and UGG complement each other?
We both accept all different cultures and people without question. Expressing yourself and using our product as you want is something the brand is about, and I'm the same way. I've always loved bringing different people together. We both believe in feeling yourself and coming as you are.
"I've always loved bringing different people together."
UGG claims they're are an "emotional brand that makes you feel." What do you hope people feel from seeing your story and voice elevated through the brand?
I hope people just feel accepted and special when they see the campaign. UGG let me do what I wanted to do and I hope people are inspired to do the same.
Any final thoughts about UGG?
I want more!
Photos courtesy of UGG
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