Hi friends, welcome back to another edition of The Haute Seat. I am very excited, because this week I have with me one of my favorite people. She is a designer, director, filmmaker, PR professional, I mean she is possibly one of the busiest people I know so I am shocked that she is even here… Please welcome to The Haute Seat, Yaz Mirgoli !
Spencer- Yaz! I am so excited to talk to you! How have you been?
Yaz- Hey Spencer! I’m so excited to be here, thank you for having me! I’ve been great, super focused on working on the latest concepts and designs for Yaz Mania, and in the development process for the upcoming short film I’m writing and directing!
Spencer- Like I said, you are always busy! I’ve known you for many years. Dare I say we met through Tumblr or Facebook back when we were both in High School? Oh wow I feel so old.
Yaz- I’m pretty sure it was either Tumblr or Facebook. I feel like we were always re-blogging every runway photo set from each other! (Laughs)
Spencer- You are right. I am 100% sure it was Tumblr because I vividly remember sharing your things all the time. I apologize for whatever terrible things I may have re-blogged. So as I was saying, I love talking to you because you are always doing something cool.
Yaz- Aw thank you! I always feel like I’m running around doing something creative.
Spencer- I get that sense too. Where does all of this creativity come from?
Yaz- I’ve always had a deep fascination and curiosity with this world, and I never stop asking “Why?” to literally everything. I also have a ridiculous amount of energy all the time, (thanks ADHD), so I think my creativity comes from channeling all of that energy and curiosity into art. I believe that creating something is the most beautiful and powerful thing that someone can do in this world. My desire to make art stems from that, and from being constantly inspired by my favorite artists and the world around me.
Spencer- And who would you say are some of those artists that inspire you?
Yaz- My biggest inspirations are Marilyn Manson, Alejandro Jodorowsky, Alexander McQueen, Iris Van Herpen, David LaChapelle, Lady Gaga, Steven Klein, Bettie Page, Jonas Akerlund, among so many others. I love contrast and the avant-garde, so the more extreme the better.
Spencer- Yes! I certainly see each of these personas within you for sure. I’ve always associated you with your love for Marilyn Manson. What is it about Manson that draws you to him?
Yaz- To me, Manson is one of the most brilliant artists to ever walk the face of this planet. Every detail and every nuance of every single thing that he does has a deeper symbolism and meaning that probes you to dig deeper and explore further. To me, that’s the mark of a brilliant artist. His visuals are also so cinematic, well done, and have so many levels of meaning, particularly with alchemy and the occult which are both profound fascinations of mine.
He’s also brilliant and genuinely one of the kindest and sweetest people that I’ve ever had the privilege of meeting. We’re both Capricorns as well, so that obsessive workaholic perfectionist nature is something I’ve always related to. He’s truly one of the greatest artists to ever live. One of my biggest goals is to work with him.
Spencer- Manson is awesome. I remember my mother used to often play him for me in the car all the time growing up! So funny. I am positive you will work with him one day. It’s in the cards! I personally have so many people I aspire to work with, I don’t even know where I would start.
Yaz- I’m sure I’ll work with him in the future. I’m a strong believer in the universe, magic and manifesting your dreams and desires into reality, the only limits are the ones we place on ourselves, you just have to believe and work towards your goal, and it will happen. I would love to see your list of dream collaborations! I bet it’s filled with so many fantastic artists.
Spencer- I’ve always been inspired by strong, powerful women. I would love to work with Gaga of course. Then others like Sarah Paulson, Cher, Sia, Marina Abramovic, Courtney Love, Stevie Nicks, Florence Welch, SZA, FKA Twigs, Zoe Kravitz. The list could go on forever.
Yaz- I knew it would be a fabulous list! I agree with being inspired by strong powerful women. There’s something about empowered female sexuality that’s so entrancing and awe inspiring.
Spencer- Empowered female energy is the strongest energy in the world. It’s inspired my creative process as long as I could remember.
Yaz- Agreed, there is something truly magical, sacred, and divine about a strong woman. It’s something I think about and channel every time I create.
Spencer- So I have an odd question I guess. You mentioned you are a Capricorn. What does that say about you as a creative?
Yaz- I love that question, I’m obsessed with being a Capricorn so I don’t find it odd at all! My sun is in the 29th degree of Capricorn, which in astrology is the considered to be the degree that is the perfect embodiment of each sign. I also have four other planets in Capricorn, so I’m pretty hardcore Cap in terms of the sign’s traits. As a creative, being a Capricorn speaks to my perfectionist control freak nature, hyper attention to detail, focus, drive, patience, and my ambition and innovative spirit as a leader and the boss of my own companies. I’m a strong believer in being hands on and involved in every aspect of the creative process, which is very much so a Capricorn trait because we’re control freaks (laughs).
Capricorns and our ruling planet Saturn also hold dominion over the tenth house in the zodiac, which is the highest point in the natal chart, as well as the first house in astrology that leaves the Earth and moves into the cosmos. I think that transcendence really embodies what Yaz Mania and, (in the bigger picture), what my work as an artist is about. Going from the ordinary to extraordinary, and transcending beyond what people believe is possible to create magic. That’s always been my goal in anything I’ve done in life, to transcend, transform, and create beyond the realm of what people think can be done.
Spencer- I want to move in towards your design work. You recently launched your brand – Yaz Mania Designs, which has been seen on drag stars such as Kelly Mantle, and even one of my favorite freaking people, Brooke Candy. What motivated you to share your brand with the world, and describe your core design philosophy?
Yaz- I’ve been designing since I was really young. I started creating the first pieces of what has become Yaz Mania when I was 15, and it’s always been something that I’ve loved and been extremely passionate about. I was 17 and still in high school the first time one of my pieces was used in a professional shoot, so I’ve been designing professionally for a long time now.
However, I never thought that being an artist was a viable career path. As a result, I was a pre-med Biology major my first two years of undergrad at UCLA and was planning on going to medical school to become a psychiatrist and revolutionize the mental health system from the inside out. Throughout that time I was still designing sporadically and I was working in entertainment, but being an artist was always something that I had been told was not a career, but a hobby.
During my sophomore year of college, my life was essentially turned upside down, and through that process I came to the realization that being an artist wasn’t just a career option, it’s who I am at my core, and to deny that would be to deny my truest self. I remember walking into a thrift shop right before my junior year and finding this incredible disco ball looking mannequin, and that was my sign from the universe that it was time to just go for it and to start designing and creating full force again. In tandem with this epiphany, I ended up switching majors, and added a minor in Film, TV, and Digital Media.
Upon graduating from UCLA this past June, I decided it was time to take the ideas of Yaz Mania, and my media and production company Yaz Media, (which our dear friend Chiffon actually named), that had existed in my brain for years, and bring them into physical reality. The official launch of Yaz Mania was on a very synchronistic and important date in my life. The time was finally right so I did it.
I would say my motivation to share Yaz Mania with the world was first and foremost my desire to share my work as an artist. A wise person once said that art isn’t complete until it’s shared with others, and I am a strong believer in that, and in the power of fashion and art to bring people together and help us express ourselves in a way we wouldn’t otherwise be able to. I’m an incredibly shy person, but the second I step out in something I’ve created I feel stronger and more empowered to take on the world. My core design philosophy is to share that feeling of empowerment, especially with women, and that the sky’s the limit when it comes to creating. The more outrageous, unconventional, and avant-garde, the better. I want to push people’s ideas and conceptions of what art and fashion can be into the next dimension, and in doing that, help raise the level of consciousness and creativity on this planet. Both Yaz Mania and Yaz Media are vessels for me to do that, and I’m very excited to see what’s in store.
Spencer- Your philosophy on the relationship between design and empowerment is truly beautiful. You have already accomplished so much at such a young age. Going forward, what are your aspirations for Yaz Media Designs?
Yaz- I appreciate that, thank you. My biggest goals with Yaz Mania are to work with the artists that I look up to like Marilyn Manson, Jonas Akerlund, Steven Klein, Lady GaGa, David LaChapelle, etc., and to have a global impact on the worlds of fashion and art. Ultimately I want to empower as many people as possible, and to grow Yaz Mania into an internationally recognized brand that pushes the limits of what we believe is possible in fashion and art. Alexander McQueen is one of my biggest inspirations and I strive to have that level of impact while remaining authentic, creative, and innovative.
Spencer- Your work ethic and passion is unmatched. Personally, I can see this brand going far and I really believe in you. In ways we are very alike in our design philosophy and even our inspirations. Alexander McQueen was the designer that really inspired me to move into fashion which is quite incredible, coming from the small town I am from. His fashion really opened doors to a whole new world.
Yaz- Thank you so much for saying that. McQueen to me is a symbol of rebellion and pure creativity. In my opinion his artistry and theatricality are unmatched by anyone in fashion. Like you said, his ability to transport us into another world with his work is so unique and inspiring.
Spencer- So what would you say has been your favorite piece you have created?
Yaz- That’s a hard one, my favorite piece is constantly changing. I would say my “Full Metal Alchemist” leather jacket is definitely one of my all time favorites because of the integration the piece has with spiritual topics that I study including alchemy, hermeticism, magic, and the zodiac.
My bride of Frankenstein headpiece and Frankenstein mask are other top picks because of how extreme they are. I also love the Manson bras that I’ve made because of how much of an influence he’s had on me as an artist, and the Columbia bustier I made when I was 15 is another favorite because it was the first “real” piece that I made.
Rounding out the list are my collaborations with Kelly, especially the “Slurs” dress I designed and hand painted for her Keyboard Courage music video, and the biker hat I created for that shoot that was also used for the single’s cover art and in all the promotional photography for the song. That hat actually was my first piece used on the cover of a magazine which was a very special moment in my career. I have a soft spot for every piece that I’ve made though.
Spencer- Yeah I was definitely going to add in my love for the “Full Metal Alchemist”. I love the detail you put into the sleeves and the collar of the jacket. So Yaz as you know, I gave the viewers of WERRRK to ask you a few questions. Are you ready for this?
Yaz- Thank you! Yes I’m ready to rumble!
Spencer- Perfect! Okay this first question is from Instagram user @maddiexxmonster – Who is your favorite film director, and why?
Yaz- That’s a hard one. I don’t think I can pick just one but among my top directors are the following; Alejandro Jodorowsky because of his visuals and the way spirituality and magic are embedded into every fiber of his films. The Holy Mountain is one of my all time favorites films, and I am a strong believer in his shamanic philosophy and technique of Psychomagic.
Gaspar Noé because of his innovative way of crafting a narrative and rich color palettes. Irreversible and Enter the Void are both masterpieces both in terms of visuals and narrative structure. I am so excited for his new film Climax to come out this year. He’s also a Capricorn which explains a lot.
David Lynch because of the dreamy surrealist state and his refusal to give the audience a clear answer or neatly packaged ending in any of his works. I’m so obsessed with Twin Peaks, Eraserhead, Lost Highway, and Inland Empire. He’s also the reason why I started practicing Transcendental Meditation, which is something that I am eternally grateful for.
Su Friedrich because of both the unique synthesis of genres she employs in her films and the way she enables the viewer to explore the depths of their own mind through what she presents on screen. The way she meditated on how childhood trauma shaped and still intersects with her identities in Sink or Swim is something I return to constantly. To this day, the effect that film has on me is one of my biggest inspirations to use my voice as an artist to empower and inspire others.
Dziga Vertov because of his role as a pioneer of cinéma vérité and his technical brilliance. Man with a Movie Camera is a masterpiece and has the ability to hold my attention unlike any other film I’ve ever seen. I find early Soviet cinema so incredible and Vertov is one of the greats. Like Gaspar Noé, he’s also a Capricorn, which again explains a lot.
Honorable mentions go to Sergei Eisenstein, Fritz Lang, Leni Riefenstahl (based solely on technical ability, not subject matter), Andrei Tarkovsky, Stanley Kubrick, Luis Buñuel, Jean Cocteau, Federico Fellini, Pier Pasolini, Alfred Hitchcock, David Fincher, Maya Deren, and Darren Aronofsky.
Spencer- Okay well you definitely know your film directors. What is it about film that captivates you?
Yaz- Well I was a film minor. (laughs) Personally, I believe that film is the only medium that has the power to fully immerse and engage with an individual. It combines essentially every artistic form to create a truly complete piece of work that has the power to make people feel. Film engages all of the senses simultaneously as a result of combining so many artistic forms, and through this allows the individual to experience and become a part of the onscreen world.
That experience creates understanding, and that understanding has the power to change the world. I’m of the opinion that we cannot truly understand something in life until we have personally experienced it. Film becomes a way of providing that experience, and through that, creates understanding and empathy, which I believe are two of the most fundamental pieces in changing the world. That power, the strong visual nature of film, and the escapism that film provides are the things I find most captivating about it as a medium and art form.
Spencer- Couldn’t have said it better myself. Film gives us the opportunity to explore our greatest fears and/or fantasies. Film can literally sway public opinion and give spotlight to our world’s greatest issues. I could go on forever.
Another question from a WERRRK.com viewer, @vineetha17 – Who are some of your personal style influences?
Yaz- B. Akerlund, Bettie Page, Rooney Mara, Lady Gaga, Cher, 80’s hair metal bands, the list could go on forever, I draw inspiration from everywhere.
Spencer- Ah, Rooney Mara with some Bettie Page hits it perfectly I feel like. Well Yaz, even though I could talk to you forever.. I suppose I should release you. Any final words for our viewers and where can they follow your journey?
Yaz- We definitely could go on forever! You can find me on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook – @yazmaniadesigns, @yazmedia, and @yazzy666, and my official website!
You can also reach me via ouija board or crystal ball during a full moon. Whatever you fancy!
Spencer- Don’t tempt me with a good time. I’ll definitely be trying that. Thank you Yaz so much for joining me. I am such a fan of yours and I can’t wait to see what you do next.
Yaz- Thank you so much for having me! I’ve loved being in the Haute seat! Also just a reminder that anyone that isn’t already following Spencer’s amazing costume page The Art of Costume (@theartofcostume) on Instagram is missing out and needs to get on it stat!
Spencer- Oh hush, you are going to make me blush! You say the word, and The Haute Seat is all yours!
Yaz- You better believe I’ll be taking you up on that!
Follow Yaz Mirgoli through on Social Media!
Facebook: Yaz Mania Designs