A firm believer in the concept of less is more, Buenos Airean runway model turned artist Naomi Preizler is the inside eye on fashion with a fondness for painting strong women.
Spending a hefty amount of time hiding behind a big pair of sunglasses watching the world go by, 21-year-old Premier-signed model, homebody Naomi P is obsessed with strong personalities. Portraying bold female personalities with prominent features in her work, the ambitious young Argentinean first became interested in art when her Grandma introduced her to the work of the early impressionists, specifically Edvard Munch, Otto Dix, Kokoschka and Egon Schiele. Citing any female character from a Jean-Luc Godard movie as her muse and the epic power ballad ‘Because the Night’ by Patti Smith as her chosen soundtrack to a day-in-her-life, Naomi’s aesthetic is bold and self-assured. Growing up against the backdrop of Buenos Aires’ rich and diverse cultural scene, Naomi fondly remembers her childhood days spent with her friends when she would play, take ballet, art and theatre classes and be carefree in the countryside.
Citing her proudest moment to date as landing the cover of Harper’s Bazaar Argentina and best ever outfit as a Jean Paul Gaultier floral dress accessorised with a David Bowie wig, blue eye shadow and Cuban heel booties worn on the runway, Naomi’s life has become a dazzling serenade of opportunities and extravagance. To date she has modelled for Chanel, Givenchy, Jean Paul Gaultier, Balenciaga, Calvin Klein and Alexander Wang and now commonly keeps company with high-ranking fashion glitterati (Gaultier and Beth Ditto inc.). i-D online caught up with the impossibly elegant and upbeat blonde to chat people and painting.
What was Buenos Aires like growing up? Argentina is a developing country with its own European vibe. Home is Buenos Aires, incredibly down to earth, humble, nostalgic, artistic, literary, political but at the same time possessing its own identity. My memories of growing up there include football fanatics; late nights out; Cumbia and national rock; “Asados” (barbecues) every Sunday; drinking with my grandparents; going to the youth club to play sports; riding horses through the fields of the Jewish colonies; true friendships; ballet, art and theatre classes; the working classes striking every week; people sleeping rough and street urchins begging for coins at the traffic lights. Corruption and crime. Villas and charity. All of these memories are summed up in our songs and dances of tango.
What’s the city’s best kept secret? The Pink House by the center of the Plaza de Mayo and Avenida 9 de Julio has an incredible view of the Obelisco. It’s where everything happens. It’s also where the traditional cafés, theatres, art galleries and French balconies are to be found. The pedestrianised Florida Street with its shoppers and business workers is close to the tango and antique districts in San Telmo and the bohemian art district in La Boca.
Tell us about your relationship with Jean Paul Gaultier… I went to meet him at his offices in Paris for fittings. Normally models don’t enjoy doing them as they have to stand up all day being changed in and out of clothes. For me it was like having the doors open to the most amazing atelier. I learnt so much about the clothes, about the different concepts and about a true artist. The atmosphere of the studio was very friendly and intimate as there were only four people working in there. I now understood exactly what it takes to prepare a collection and a concept. We were listening to music and dancing to Beth Ditto (she opened the show) to get inspired and gain the energy to keep on going! I even was able to choose my outfits and the colour of my wig.
What ambitions do you have for your art? I’m not pretentious and my atelier is in no way a “factory”. I also don’t want to change the world and I’m not against anything. I look at art as beauty and as a perception of nature. Science is there to find the answers to the world’s phenomena but art is there to showcase and represent it admirably.
What are you looking forward to right now? Absorbing everything I watch while I’m in Europe, from exhibitions to the crisis scene.
What makes you giggle? Watching and listening to the impatient Argentinian passengers at the departure gate for the flight to Buenos Aires. I call them “ventajitas” (advantage taking).
What’s next? I trust in time and opportunities. But there’s something I’m sure about: I can’t do art without fashion and I can’t do fashion without art. And I can’t live without both.
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Text: Milly McMahon