Stop to consider then, the trail that Rie Rasmussen has left in her wake. Behind that lean 5′ 10 frame lies a stack of genius editorials, piles of comped couture dresses, mega-glam campaigns, high heels to make grown women cry, red carpet extravaganzas in Cannes, many, many champagne soaked nights and (sigh) dust ups in chic Paris boites with blue chip photographers. And that is the trivial stuff. If you want to take it deeper then consider her career in film, first as an actress in Brian de Palma’s “Femme Fatale” and then as the lead in Luc Besson’s “Angel A” culminating in her opening shot as a director with “Human Zoo” a film that debuted at the 2009 Berlin Film Festival. It is very interesting the way she keeps growing her skill set. The proposition that is Miss Rasmussen is clearly many things. But that is Rie’s right and therein lies the distinction and the uniqueness of this woman.
Text: Wayne Sterling
Photos: Stephan Moskovic
Shot on location at Rie Rasmussen's NYC loft
Her travelogue starts in Denmark where her parents instill in her an unflinching spirit of independence. Instinctively Rie understands femininity is not about weakness but about power, specifically power that moves with grace. On a visit to New York she is scouted. Then the story swings to the sun flooded expanses of California where Rie goes off to the HFI film school joining forces with this no holds American boy named Travis Marshall. In her incarnation as a model Rie ricochets from New York to Paris, from Milan and to London. That narrative entangles forces and brands as disparate as the Prada runway and the VS runway, stints as the face of Gucci, Fendi and Donna Karan and on-set time with all those boldfaced names: Avedon, Meisel, Klein, Mert n Marcus. And all this time, as she ricochets across the globe Rie Rasmussen evolves as a woman and a creative talent even though she would be the first to remind you that you shouldn’t separate the two. In fact that is exactly what she expresses as she steps out of the shower of her loft apartment demurely robed, head turbaned like the ladies in one of those Old Hollywood films. Von Sternberg’s monocle would have popped. The skin is pristine, the features strong. I like Rie’s nose because it makes her seem haughty when she is not. When Rie fixes her eyes on you all that charisma and a bit of mischief comes pouring out full force.
“Every time I’m with a journalist and I’m telling my story of what I’ve been doing, what I am as a female I feel like I have to be clear in this. The story.. It is about who you are as a woman. It is about who you are becoming. First you’re a young girl and then you’re evolving. And even now as a woman I’m still connected to that girl. Who are you as a woman? What can you tell other women? What does the tribal elder tell the young girls now?” says Rie. She’s back in New York at the Mercer Street loft she shares with that erstwhile partner in crime Travis Marshall. Days are spent photographing and painting and sketching and chiseling away the plaster of the walls to outline the sinuous figures of female forms. Photographers and art dealers, curators and writers and actors winnow in and out. But today she is giving MDC her full attention in this her 3rd cover feature for the site. As such Rie feels as much like family as she does an interview subject. She’s sort of like your globetrotting urban nomad cousin who each time you see her is just a touch more fabulous than the last time.
“I love fashion. I love being there with Steven Klein one day being outrageous with Kabuki’s make-up on. And then the next day I’m with Collier Schorr with no-make-up, being shot like I’ve never been shot before and you’re really in her universe. Or Alexei Hay.. I had 60 pounds of dead tunas on my head but all of that is a treat for me.”
Would that mean then that Miss Rasmussen calculates and gauges and feeds off all those variables of image making that surrounds her on a shoot ? Sadly enough that’s an unusual trait when girls model these days. But the wisdom of that is Rie is not a girl, though she can be girlish if the role calls for it. I suggest that’s one of the joys of womanhood and a chief joy that fashion plays into it. All those high heeled girls staggering across cobblestones during Paris Fashion Week. It’s performance art. The lady concurs.
“I think fashion is a treat. It is a passion. and I think if you’re going to be around it you really have to love it. And again I really believe it is an art form. People get their panties in a twist but let’s not forget…it is an art form. Enjoy it! I love creating. Why wouldn’t I do it for a magazine or a campaign or in any other outlet.. a gallery.. a show..?”
See it is all multi-disciplinary in Rie’s mind. The conversation ranges over a very wide range of subjects but drifts back to film, that first love, that deep love. Kathryn Bigelow and “Hurt Locker” vs Cameron’s “Avatar”, I pose to her ….”Choose one”. It is impossible as both films are works of art that she loves madly… We talk about the romance of New York in the summer… her painting process. The thoughts and ideas spill out in an ecstatic bubble of passion. I think I adore Rie most of all because of that quality of mind. Determined, insightful, passionate… ready to fight for her principles. You know of what I speak. We babble so much, we make a date for a proper follow-up interview. A few days later it transpires Rie and Travis have re-located to Los Angeles to finesse their upcoming film project. She sends a snap of her new outdoor painting studio somewhere in the wilds of the Hollywood Hills in which she looks like a warrior-priestess. Nomadic. Uncompromising. Glam-a-rous to the hilt. Hers is a great life, which is not to say it does not come at great price. But it is a life of courage with a driven sense of destiny. If fashion is about the celebration of women in all their complexity and beauty then Rie Rasmussen’s aesthetic is the kind of party I’ll stand in line for.