You may know her work from the pages of our on-line magazines; the delectable Ms. Sylvia Holden is a deft stylist but this summer she’s branching out and opening arguably Brooklyn’s chicest, low-key bar. We’ve got a recent Marie-Antoinette-esque photoshoot that she styled with her usual eye-catching-double-take panache, and we also chatted with Ms. Sylvia on her soon to open bar, Mary’s Bar.
Let’s talk about this shoot. What was the inspiration?
This shoot was really inspired by Anita Quansah’s neck-pieces. I wanted to feature her work but still have the shoot feel very stylized. Not just a girl in a necklace with pretty hair. I wanted her skin to be translucent as if it could disappear into the backdrop, and also to exaggerate the neck-pieces against her translucence. I wanted the look to conjure Marie Antoinette but not be relevant to only that period. The alternative use of materials really helps achieve that effect. The use of Saran Wrap and Erica Carr our hair and makeup artist and homemade wigs with felt and poly fill are unique and not-period specific. It’s these materials that bring this story into the present.
Do you have a favorite photo from a stylists perspective?
My favorite image is the seated shot with Antoinette’s fuchsia shoes off, holding strawberries in her hands. I just love everything about this shot.
What else have you been up to aside from styling? Rumor has it you’re opening a very, very chic new bar with a couple of other folks…
What made you open a bar?
A couple of things. I have been bartending for years while supporting my art so when Stephanie Markowitz asked me to open a spot with her I said yes. It was that simple! Well, also Stephanie is my dear friend and a hell of a business woman. Stephanie was the GM of the very popular Manhattan bar called Employees Only and is a partner in EO brands a line of mixers coming out of that famous mixologist spot.
How did you pick the name?
Mary’s Bar we had another name in mind, then Stephanie was introducing herself around the neighborhood as the new business owner of the then bar called Smollens and each person she introduced herself to said, ‘Oh you mean Mary’s bar.’ So Mary’s it tis! Plus Mary sounded kinda bad ass. She had seven children and her husband died while the children were very young. The bar was how she raised her family and apparently she ran a good spot from what the locals say.
Tell us about how you picked the location and the space?
Mary’s Bar is located on a corner lot on 22nd Street and 5th Avenue in the Brooklyn neighborhood, South Slope. In addition to being in a great spot, the bar has potential outdoor seating, too. We’re working the details out as I speak.
Inside Mary’s Bar will feature a classic décor juxtaposed with a rugged urban edge. We’ve uncovered the original tin ceiling and will complement it with vintage lighting throughout. There’s a 28-foot bar that will be beautifully refurbished and the room will have a wrap-around banquette, darts & a pool table. A massive jewel of a back bar, fabricated out of reclaimed mirror and dark wood shelves will be stocked to the brim. It will feel like someplace you have been a million times and then again like no place you have ever been before.
A mood board for Mary’s Bar
What’s the menu, i.e. big cocktail program? wine-focused? craft-beers?
Really we are looking to be an awesome neighborhood bar with booze for all from Johny Walker to Knob Creek, 12 beers on tap and ice cold cans of beer. A Beautiful Saloon with a romantic urban edge. Perhaps its the French quarter meets the lower East side. My objective in designing the space is to make it relatable to everyone.
What’s your drink?
I like a Campari with a twist this time of year. I am a seasonal drinker!
How about the decor? How much of it are you doing yourself?
I am designing this space. It was completely gutted and I am designing and sourcing every detail. I could not be doing it without Stephanie though who is making certain that I don’t make some pretty thing that does not function.
Will you be styling photoshoots in the bar anytime soon?
The minute we open! I cant wait to dress people in a set I have created.
When will you be opening, already?
The team is Adrian Buckmaster on photography, Heather Hayes on muse, Erica Carr on makeup and Sylvia Holden on styling.
Anita Quansah Londons embellished studded fringed necklace (Nara)
Anita Quansah Londons tribal fabric, bead and chain necklace (Nava)
Anita Quansah Londons braided necklace with hand-painted Indian birds (Orion)
Anita Quansah Londons knotted multi-chain fringed necklace (Khans)