Posted April 4, 2009
I'm writing this eulogy in my '70s silver lurex jungle print wedding dress. It was chosen for me 20 hours before my wedding, May 1, 2007, by my mentor, inspiration and friend for 25 years, Ken at Deluxe. Ken passed away in September, I only found out today, the same day I found out Ken's last name was Spada.
Last names didn't matter in our world. What did matter was our shared passion for haute couture, the divine '30s and the ability to speak crassly with one another. If any other man would have told me I'd look better if I wore heels to hike up my ass and tits I would've clocked him. I respected Ken and his honesty.
It was 1984 when I first walked into his vintage shop, Deluxe Junk, I was a 14 year old kid and I wanted to sell him some clothes I bought at a thrift store with my allowance money. He wouldn't buy them outright but we agreed on a consignment deal. All my items sold and thus began a relationship that lasted 25 years.
By accepting my vintage pieces into his shop in '84, Ken taught me to have confidence in myself, my individuality and my dreams.
The years passed and my dreams began to turn to realities. My vintage collections were shown in prestigious exhibitions in New York City and Los Angeles and Ken was the first person I'd come running to with stories. He could have cared less who was there or who I sold to, he only cared what was there.
In 2005 Ken wasn't at the shop as much as he used to be, due to illness, and I missed going in to shoot the shit and talk shop with him. However, I was lucky enough to go by one day and I saw him there, standing, the gate keeper guarding the passageway to vintage heaven (the back room). It was then that I knew it was the right moment to tell Ken he was my inspiration. I thanked him for teaching me everything I know about haute couture, passion and perseverance. He looked out of place and told me he thought I'd probably be a dominatrix in the bedroom.
It's because of Ken at Deluxe that I am where I am today. He may no longer be here in body but he will forever be my inspiration and I will miss him more than words can express.
We will meet again my friend, only then I'll be in Chanel and wearing six inch heels.