Photos: Richard Lovrich
For Collaborative columns I tend to meet artists and creatives in their studios or home work spaces. Instead, Lauren Ezersky and I met at the new Maker Lounge in Hudson, a tastefully appointed cafe and bar serving baked goods and light fare. It is a place to enjoy being seen.
“I don’t have a studio. The world is my studio. I go out and meet people see people see what they are wearing, what they’re doing. It’s exciting. I’m out and about baby,” she says. Her dear friend Patrick, having just moved from the city, was already there when we arrived.
How would one describe Ezersky? Hands: bejeweled—no matter the outfit—with long, expressive, lacquer-tipped fingers, ready to sling through hangers of couture while deftly holding a microphone. Eyes: eternally adrift in smokey clouds of kohl, a look more fitting than ever, topped with her lofting shock of unabashedly white hair.
No description of Ezersky is complete without her signature voice. Think a slightly deeper, far more listenable Fran Drescher accent with a vocal fry. With her delivery thrown in, it gavottes from common to classy and is as New York as hand-tossed thin-crust pizza. Ezersky describes her personal style with an apology for the overused term “eclectic.” A ball gown one day and jeans the next, she has many moods and nurtures them with complementary fashion.
Ezersky got her start in the fashion world on the 1980s Manhattan public-access show “Behind The Velvet Rope,” which quickly grew in popularity along with the world of cable. Ezersky and her show were wooed and picked up by The Style Network, on which they ran, leading a fashion-hungry audience through the industry’s showrooms, runways and shops until 2012. American households were eager for the fashion world’s inside scoop—as were those of Greece, Europe and the Middle East. Millions of young fashionistas were inspired by Ezersky as they came to know the canon at her Louboutin clad feet.
Fashion notables Ezersky has interviewed include Karl Lagerfeld, John Galiano, Gianni Versace, hairstylist to the stars Oribe Canales. When asked about her favorite of the many personalities she had interviewed, I received a hard ‘No.’ She loved each and every one of them. While that was the smartest response, politically speaking, it was also the most sincere. Ezersky’s fashion tent is so big, it is world sized.
How does a globe-trotting fashionista land in Hudson?
A friend, operator of eponymous Tom Swope Gallery on Warren Street, made the move 20 years ago and invited vacation-home-hunting Ezersky for a visit. It was a bleak winter day and too soon in the town’s recovery, although she saw promise and liked the real estate prices. Instead she purchased a home in Amagansett, on Long Island where she dressed down, or as down as Ezersky might dress. As Hudson blossomed, with its—according to Ezersky—superior eateries, shopping and general hipness, Ezersky could not fight the pull. She sold her Amagansett home and moved up, following so many other downstaters;she regularly discovers friends from Manhattan and the Hamptons while strolling, shopping or walking to the train station.
The Marvel Universe would immortalize Lauren as “The Shopper,” but where in Hudson does this superhero of the sales racks test her superpowers?
Warren Street is easily one of the hippest, near-contiguous shopping strolls in New York State and I tagged along with Ezersky to just a handful of her favorite haunts.
Art and apparel purveyor Mikel Hunter’s boutique and gallery is an adventure in texture and color. Provocatively merchandised and displayed, it pained me to breeze through. I nearly bought a coat I could not afford, kudos.
White Whale Limited is the garage sale from heaven with a collection of antiques so vast and varied that it should confound. Everything in the shop is categorized, despite its independent origins, and presented respectfully. The side room is home to a cabinet of curiosities, with walls hung with a tribe of masks and shelves dotted with a docent and catalog worthy collection of cultural and physical curiosities. If staid antique shops bore you, this is your Mecca.
The aforementioned Tom Swope Gallery is impeccably tasteful and deals in ancient art and antiquities. Dark and meditative, the pin-spot lighting highlights a collection of works that, taken together, are a museum alone. In your home, any piece would become a timeless heirloom. A sixth-century standing Buddha, Aztec serpents, an early dynasty bowl. I was enthralled, and for a third time, my schedule forced me to move on far too soon.
For the highest point in fashion one must travel to the lowest point in town, to 1 Warren Street and Kasuri. Kasuri has been open long enough to be a fixture, featuring Yohji, Comme des Garçons, Vivienne Westwood and Ezersky’s current crush, Rick Owens, whose simple, black sheer blouse and grey, space age boots she wore for the interview. With rack after rack of genuine couture, Kasuri also boasts outré, featured runway pieces on mannequins for inspiration. That this shop exists at all in the Hudson Valley is a beautiful anomaly. That it has thrived for so long attests to its importance here.
Rambling On is a monthly feature exploring the towns and cities outside of the Capital Region harboring exceptional creatives and artistic hotspots. Know of a place we just can’t miss? Email firstname.lastname@example.org