- North America
- Jill Di Donato
- Fashion Editor
Sex, violence, voyeurism, and vintage lingerie only begin to skim the surface of a new project where art and fashion intersect. Amy Hood, former muse, model, and art director, announces her arrival as a creative director with a vision for a lurid and lascivious feminine desire. CULT CLASSIC, published by VISCOUS Publications, marks the beginning of Hood’s solo career. For years, Hood worked alongside photographer Jonathan Leder, who’s making headlines after releasing nude Polaroid photographs of Emily Ratajkowski in a book that Ratajkowski never authorized. Hood wants to make it clear that she no longer has anything to do with Leder.
After leaving Florida at 16 when she finished high school, Hood spent some time in New York modeling and teaching herself the ropes of art direction and creative production. Working with a slew of famous—and infamous—male photographers gave Hood insight into the craft of marketing in the art and fashion industries, but her ambition, talent, and persistence helped this 20-something achieve the coveted title of creative director. Culture Trip talks to Hood about the male gaze, the allure of 1970s Hollywood, and her debut solo project CULT CLASSIC (featuring models Bodhi Rose, Zanah Marie, Diandra Godiva, and Ana Corbi in lingerie by Agent Provocateur and Dainty Rascal).
Culture Trip: Tell me about your new book CULT CLASSIC and the process of making, producing and distributing it. Why would a fashion audience be interested in it?
Amy Hood: Upon the decision to establish a cult brand, my mind naturally budded rapidly with all these ideas and this elaborate movie-like photographic story. A queen of a desert cult of femme commissions her two top followers to embark from their commune into the Hollywood Hills and kidnap a young starlet for a sacrificial sunrise ceremony. It’s a dark, glamorous magical story of sex and violence with a twist ending and is accompanied by thought-provoking essays written by four brilliant women who probe the aforementioned theory of cult. It’s something for people to enjoy and internalize, and stretches the bellows of society’s mind.
Why would fashion folks be into the book? They love beautiful women, creativity, and good photography. CULT CLASSIC is well styled, including lingerie pieces by the always sexy Agent Provocateur and a gorgeous custom feather robe by Dainty Rascal, among vintage pulls.
CT: How does CULT CLASSIC dismantle the male gaze?
CT: Tell me about your experience working with Jonathan Leder.
AH: While I’m primarily self-taught, Jonathan [Leder] taught me a lot about how the industry actually works and gave me a crash course in marketing and photography. He’s not a good person; he was very destructive to me and the various relationships we had. He left me with nothing when I worked for years building this company by putting all of my ideas into it. But he always had this industry and marketing know-how and I took that and got more creative and human with it.
CT: Tell me how the two of you started the company [making art books].
AH: I was living in Woodstock, New York with my ex and business partner [Jonathan Leder], when a local store owner gave us a box of vintage pin-up [that were sold] under the counter mags. We found several that were in this 5.5x 8.5-inch format and thought, “Now that’s a great little design.” It was naughty and relatively inexpensive to produce, and that’s when we decided to make Fetishisms Volume 1. I designed it and have been designing, art directing and producing books ever since.
CT: What advice would you give to aspiring creative directors?
Purchase CULT CLASSIC online at VISCOUS Publications for $36. Distribution in fine boutiques, coming soon.
CULT CLASSIC will be available for purchase on December 8, 2016, at the art show, CAUCHEMAR, where Hood will exhibit print work.
CULT CLASSIC includes essays by Stacey Mark essays by Laura Mcklaw Helms.