‘Death to Paulina’ is the first solo collection from the line Dextrose, created by the very talented bay area designer Dexter Simmons. There’s something sinister about these photos shot by Kristen Cofer, which is beautifully juxtaposed against the warmth of a hazy daydream. I caught up with Dexter and asked him about his current collection:
Give me a little information on the man behind Dextrose?
My name is Dexter Simmons. I was born and raised in the bay area. Urban living, nightlife, and San Francisco are what inspired me to become involved in art and fashion. I have always worked in some facet of fashion; styling bands, editorial, catalog, hair, makeup, fashion shows and art instillations. Music is what really drives me, styling bands is probably one of my favorite things to do. Besides that I am a power dork, comic books, fashion magazines, horror films, and concerts keep me percolated. Don’t get me wrong though, I still like to go out to clubs and drop it like it’s hot.
How did Dextrose come about?
Dextrose is a manifestation of all the skills I have acquired while working in different facets of fashion. I always wanted to work on my own solo project, but I never had the time. I was propelled forward by a bad break-up/heartbreak. Forces in my life fueled me to express what I was experiencing and it just felt right. I remember waking up at 5:00 in the morning night after night like a zombie, sketching and draping to keep my mind right. I have always used fashion as a way to express what I am feeling. This collection is the most personal piece of fashion and performance art I have ever put together, I left my heart and soul with this one.
You started out designing clothes with your best friend Lauren Rassel and created the line Flawk, what is the most challenging obstacles about showing a solo collection?
The most challenging part about starting this solo collection after Flawk is expectations. We really set the bar high and hit the ground running. What I have been doing on my own is just so different than Flawk; it really is a lot darker. This really gave me a good chance to get in my own head and figure out who I am as a designer.
Why “Death to Paulina”? Is there Paulina?
Death to Paulina is a Pans Labyrinth version of my own personal heartbreak. It combines dark spooky classic American Mickey shapes with the occult. Its a story of a cult of women who believe the end of the world is coming and the only way to fix it and save humanity is to sacrifice Paulina. “We are not a cult, we are a cure, Death to Paulina”.
Who or what inspires you?
I get a lot of inspiration from horror movies, 70’s cult, religion, American classics and really just my emotional state. I love to watch John Waters’s films; they remind that beauty can be found in the most insane places.
If you could dress anyone in Dextrose who would it be and why?
Grace Jones because she is one of the most inspiring performance artists of my time. She takes all of the right risks, and isn’t afraid to make ugly beautiful.
When he’s not creating one of a kind fashions Dexter can be found bar tending special events and parties at Project One Art Gallery, http://p1sf.com/