Larry Krone wore an orange-and-blue-striped cowboy getup to the November 15 release party of Look Book, the first collection of costumes and fashion creations published by the artist and clothing designer behind House of Larréon and his own eponymous lines. Gold, a female soul-punk quartet, played in vintage pink spandex. Performer Bridget Everett flaunted her gold House of Larréon fanny pack. As for the event’s hostess — one Poppy Louise Mandrell Everett, a charcoal Pomeranian — “She was in the nude,” laughs Krone. “Which is a very Larréon look.”
Guests at the Hell’s Kitchen venue 42 West feted the 45-year-old artist, musician and designer, who has created shimmery, revealing pieces for Everett’s exhibitive appearances on Comedy Central and at Carnegie Hall. As a fine artist, his designs incorporate painting, graphics, fabric, Mylar, even teeth and hair. In his spare time, Krone moonlights as a country singer and ukulele player. He even provided the evening’s hors d’oeuvres: deviled pickled eggs and “St. Louis sushi,” pickle slices wrapped in cream-cheese-slathered ham that Krone insists are the hit of every Larréon event.
Look Book — released on December 1 — features models/Joe’s Pub regulars including Everett, Adam “Ad-Rock” Horovitz, Kathleen Hanna, Neal Medlyn, Murray Hill, Erin Markey, Molly Pope, and Cole Escola in photographs taken by Todd Oldham.
Testimonials from Broadway linchpin Patti LuPone, actor Victor Garber, composer Marc Shaiman, and director Scott Wittman round out the editorial components of Look Book, which Krone is selling through his website and local indie bookstores. Twenty-five percent of proceeds benefit the music and mentorship program Willie Mae Rock Camp for Girls.
Krone was born in Chicago and grew up in St. Louis. A senior-year sewing class provided the basics to create stage outfits for the “whiteboy funk” bands in which he played sax and piano. (One of his bands opened for the Red Hot Chili Peppers.) The plan after high school was to focus on working in his $50-a-month studio and “just live a teenage rock ’n’ roll lifestyle.” Instead, a partial scholarship from NYU landed him in New York.
Odd jobs following graduation kept Krone afloat until regular costume commissions and set work solidified. Yet, with all of the residencies and exhibitions he’s had over the years, his lone steady gig remains teaching weekly art classes at Hope of Israel Senior Center in the Bronx.
House of Larréon emerged five years ago, when Krone first designed for Everett. After sending a fan letter on Friendster, Krone would meet his future muse on the same 2004 evening that he met his future husband, therapist and musician Jim Andralis, whose band, the Isotoners, played what Krone remembers as “a bunch of filthy songs about drugs and gay sex,” at the Starlight Bar and Lounge. Everett sang backup. As Everett’s profile in the downtown cabaret scene rose and her beloved House of Deréon (Beyoncé’s fashion line) closed, she asked Krone to create stage outfits.
“It was sort of meant to be a joke,” he admits today. “But we had the same visual sensibility and sense of humor about the things she might want to get away with.” For her Comedy Central special viewing party, Krone decked Everett in what he called “Veuve Clituot” — a see-through champagne number topped with a chain of pearl “bubbles.” Other designs of Krone’s are called the “Coral Queef,” “Titty Dress,” “Pussy Dress,” and “PCP,” alternately short for “Puffy Cream Pie” or “Pussy Cream Pie,” depending on context. In Look Book Everett models the “Venus de Larréon,” a shoulderless silver gown anchored beneath the arms by a horizontal gold band.
Krone approached his book as an art piece, dedicating it to “Larréon girls of every gender, age, size, shape, species, and breed” and highlighting in the middle gatefold his signature “This Is What a Feminist Looks Like” patchwork shirts. “It’s a really matter-of-fact treatment of the types of bodies you might not be used to seeing, and also people’s different senses of style,” Krone explains. “In St. Louis, it’s fun to see eyes bug out.”
Prior to the collaborative Look Book, Krone completed and showed a large body of solo art. “I’m dying to get into the studio again,” he confesses, referring to his East Village one-bedroom of eighteen years. Backtracking as he recounts his many commitments, Krone corrects himself. “I really need to make some new Larréons for Bridget. So I’m doing that first. Then I’m closing the doors, hunkering down, and getting back into my own world for a while.”
Krone signs copies of Look Book on Wednesday, December 2, from 6 to 8 p.m. at the East Village’s Exit9 Gift Emporium. Free wine; books $30.