For our 2011 campaign, Lisa Eisner shot Devendra Banhart at John
Lautner’s incredible Rainbow House,
and this summer she had a pool party with the new face of Oliver Peoples,
Amanda Hearst, at the heiress’ ancestral grounds in Sam Simeon.
But photographs (and video) are hardly
the only feather in Eisner’s creative headdress. The former editor at Vogue and Mademoiselle
launched her own publishing company in 1999, Greybull Press, and exhibited her
multimedia show Psychonaut at M+B
gallery in 2010. She also happens to be
one of the most stylish people alive— but don’t just take our word for it:
Eisner’s friend and neighbor Tom Ford included her, along with Beyonce, Liya
Kabede and Julianne Moore, in his list of “the world’s most inspirational
women,” whom he also invited to walk in his now-famous comeback show in 2010.
We chatted with Eisner about her own
inspirations and her Los Angeles.
spending some time in some incredible houses on these OP campaigns. I know that
you are a Lautner fan, were you surprised or impressed by Hearst Castle?
Well I am a big collector of lot of crap, and ‘collector’ is the
big word at Hearst Castle. Hearst was practically a hoarder. He had so much
stuff, like warehouses full of antiques. He would go to New York and just buy boatloads
of antiques. I was sort of fascinated
with his taste. It reminded me of the
auction of Cher’s house in Malibu— lots of church pews and church relics, a lot
of religious overtones, very heavy, dark rooms, heavy dark wood. You felt like you were in a heavy jewelry box.
I couldn't wait to just be outside! I tried to get some ghost stories out of some
of the guides, but they said there were no stories— I don't believe it. It’s such a movie set and such a fantasy, a
perfect Hollywood setting of what all the money in the world can buy. My favorite thing was the zoo with all those
exotic animals at one time, like polar bears. And if you do have a chance to see the zebras,
well you just can’t believe it— it’s the same group of zebras’ DNA from the
original group, the same family.
I have this
belief that there is no ‘one’ Los Angeles, that every person there is living in
their own vision of the city, their own singular subculture, that the city they
see may overlap with that of another's, but is mostly unique. You have this
wonderful vision of LA as a bohemian paradise— incredible people in golden sun,
golden cars and velvety pools... How did you come by your vision of LA?
The vision just came to me living here. I’m not in the movie world, so wasn't inspired
by the Hollywood part of LA. I wanted to
find the other part, the history of a not-so-old city... I mean ‘old’ here is
like 1930's. LA is such a baby. And we are closer to Mexico than we are to New
York and Europe, and you can feel that— closer to Vegas too and you can feel
that. It’s a total comic book, no rules.
It’s a make-up-whatever-you-want kind of
place, but there are influences: the mid-century airy, clean inside-outside
architecture, the Spanish colonial which was always part of LA— the old
Hollywood part. It’s all in the books
for me: books on architects like Cliff May, Wallace Neff, Richard Neutra,
Greene and Greene, Quincy Jones, Paul Williams, Lautner, and then all the off-shoots
of those guys. Oh, and don't forget the
geniuses like Billy Hanes. The most
inspirational person was my friend Tony Duquette.
He was the total real McCoy— his house, the way he entertained, his attire,
everything - a total original. Talk about making up his own world— he made up
his own tribe and culture!
time immersed in sub-cultures (Shriners,
and even charted a new one with Psychonaut... Who do you have your eye on
Well, believe it or not, I’m into full-on nature right now: my
back yard, gardens, birds, flora, fauna, my soul. I’m almost a birder, but not quite there yet. I love feathers and also pow-wows. The Native American in their regalia in these
ceremonies are all exotic birds.
flea market finds of late?
Flea markets stay the same… but each time you go it’s another
adventure; you just stay open and let things come to you. It’s a sort of Zen, finding what wants me to