Most New Yorkers will tell you that one of the greatest things about their city is that its people come from all over the world. The diverse groups who populate each borough are an unlimited resource of fascinating stories, with styles and personalities all their own. NY-based photographer Tina Boyadjieva had the chance to meet with two other New York women who have channeled their creativity on a global scale.
I seek to photograph individuals and models with striking looks yet profound personalities and life stories.
In a shoot for Pump magazine, Tina photographed model and UN ambassador Farah Zulaikha wearing clothing designed by Rebecca Moses. The project came about as a collaboration with Farah, and her idea was to interview Rebecca while wearing her designs in a series on her blog that highlights iconic women in fashion. Tina was present at the interview and captured the two women as Rebecca shared her wealth of life stories from her years working through the globalization of fashion.
Farah contacted me that she had arranged an interview with Rebecca Moses, a living fashion icon and one of the leading American creative directors in Europe in the 90s.
Rebecca, who is both artist and a fashion designer, came to the stage in the 1990s when she succeeded Gianni Versace as the head designer of Italian fashion brand Genny. Growing up in northern New Jersey, in a town adjacent to Manhattan, Rebecca was immersed in the world of New York style. But during that time she never envisioned herself as the guiding force that would one day modernize Italian ready-to-wear fashion. What she brought to the European market was an American type of storytelling, always asking “what is the purpose” of what they designed.
While Tina has interacted with models and designers of renown, she was struck by Rebecca’s raw creativity. Her energetic personality and fun choice of wardrobe give the impression that she is someone who fully embraces the art of self-expression in her everyday life.
Rebecca is an impressive woman to be around. I was first blown away by her style. It’s hard not to notice her as she walks down the street in her turban, kimono, and chunky jewelry.
Much to Rebecca’s delight, Farah found a 1994 vintage Genny suit that was designed by Rebecca herself. While designers often see their creations on the runway, they aren’t used to seeing them thrive thirty years later. Through Tina’s images, we see the process of creation come full-circle, as both model and designer together highlight the artistry of the outfit.
Farah was able to find a vintage original Genny design and wore it to the interview. The idea was to wear the outfit next to Rebecca and for me to take a few images of the two of them.
The bright green hues of Rebecca’s design were hard to place in modern-day Soho so Tina needed to find the right background that would let the outfit shine. She ultimately discovered features like white columns, which contrasted with the outfit while still conveying the street style of New York.
I wanted to find complementary backdrop colors to the neon outfit, which was not exactly easy with the red brick buildings in Soho.
We also wanted to make it look like the 90s, so we played with some graffiti walls where the giant sunglasses looked good.
Farah has the genius ability to reinvent iconic looks from different women designers and in this way inspire them to share their professional and creative paths.
While this shoot itself was partly improvised, Tina hopes that she and Farah can collaborate on other shoots of this nature. As a fashion and portrait photographer, she rarely has the opportunity to have personal conversations with the clothing designers she highlights. Tina considers herself lucky to be able to collaborate with Farah and Rebecca to document these moments of connection authentically and artistically.
For Tina, the greatest takeaway was the time spent with Farah and Rebecca. Through sharing stories, travels, and creative interests, the trio had a lot to bond over. And while they each chose differing careers, they combined their talents to create a series that speaks to the global style of New York.
We were three women from completely different backgrounds, religions, and paths who believe in supporting other women and who give their sincere best to creating something beautiful together.