The Man Behind Fashion’s Most Famous Bob

The Man Behind Fashion’s Most Famous Bob

NYT: For the past six years, at 8 a.m. sharp, Andreas Anastasis has walked to Anna Wintour’s Greenwich Village townhouse, where for about 20 minutes every weekday he maintains upkeep, whether it’s cutting, coloring, spraying, blow-drying or styling, of the most instantly recognizable bob in fashion — maybe the world. A short distance from there, “right across the street from Carrie Bradshaw’s house,” he has spent nearly a decade running his namesake salon, where he now works two days a week. The only magazine in the waiting area is Vogue.

But back at his loft in New York’s meatpacking district, Mr. Anastasis practices another discipline. For this one, he keeps the heads hidden.

During a recent visit, plaster casts of muscular backs and thick calves protruded from walls like the specters of ancient Greek warriors. On a nearby plinth, the breasts, buttocks, fists, forearms and stomachs of his friends and lovers were strewn about, waiting to join the 47-year-old artist’s sculptural collages. But the busts were stored mostly out of sight, just off the bedroom.

Nothing in the apartment hinted at his career beyond art. Had it not been for his beloved Yorkipoo, named London, whose fur was pulled back into a flirty topknot, there weren’t any hints to suggest Mr. Anastasis even had one. Which makes sense, because, except for the odd picture on his Instagram feed, he doesn’t talk about it.

As the top editor of American Vogue since 1988, Ms. Wintour has long been the subject of public fascination and scrutiny. A fictionalized version of her was played by Meryl Streep in the 2006 film “The Devil Wears Prada,” itself based on Lauren Weisberger’s roman à clef about her time as Ms. Wintour’s assistant, and she was the subject of a recent biography by Amy Odell, out of which came a widely circulated gossip item about her lunchtime preference for steak and a caprese salad without the tomatoes.

Those close to Ms. Wintour understand the importance of discretion. In turn, that discretion keeps them close to her.

“Anna’s one of the most loyal people I know,” said Mr. Anastasis, who has no other regular celebrity clients. “When you go to her home, almost everyone working there has been there forever.”

“Anna’s one of the most loyal people I know,” said Mr. Anastasis, who has been Ms. Wintour’s primary hairstylist for six years.
Credit…Andreas Anastasis
During the early days of the pandemic, when no one was getting their hair done — or at least admitting it — Mr. Anastasis continued to show up at Ms. Wintour’s house as he always had, except that he wore a hazmat suit. After each of her public appearances, he scrolls through Getty Images to make sure her hair was properly patted down. When Ms. Wintour travels to Europe for fashion shows, he ships dyes along with detailed instructions to ensure that the international stylists her team hires maintain her specific shade of caramel blond. And when he’s out of town, he entrusts Lisa Jillian Marconi, a former employee of his who now works at Vidov West salon, with the responsibility. “I’m more obsessed than Anna is,” he said. “When it’s not perfect, I get so mad.”
“His level of dedication is rare and a pleasure to be around,” Ms. Wintour wrote in an email when asked about Mr. Anastasis. “Always there when I need him, at whatever hour of day or night, and so careful and meticulous about his work. I feel lucky to have known Andreas for so many years and I’ve seen his skill, creativity and commitment time and again. I enjoy my time with him.”
At the Met Gala last month, where the theme was “gilded glamour,” Ms. Wintour paired her Chanel haute couture gown by Virginie Viard with a bejeweled tiara, a family heirloom. “Everyone was like, ‘No, Anna! Don’t do it. People are going to tease you,’” Mr. Anastasis recalled. He took her aside and told her, “No one is going to mess with you. You’re the queen of fashion. This is your event.”
Ms. Wintour wrote, “I trust him totally.”
As she should. To every question that hewed too closely to Ms. Wintour’s private life — Does she meet him with freshly washed hair? Or does he wash it for her in the bathroom sink? Does she like to chat? Gossip? Laugh? What type of music does she play? How does she take her morning coffee? Does she wear her trademark sunglasses at home? What about pajamas? Slippers? A robe? — Mr. Anastasis had the same reply: “That’s between her and I.”
Ms. Wintour departs the Mark Hotel for the 2021 Met Gala.
Credit…Ilya S. Savenok/Getty Images

He admitted, though, that people might be surprised by her warmth. “I love working with her,” he said. “She’s always been so nice to me.” According to Mr. Anastasis, she has also been encouraging and complimentary of his art practice. “I’ve photographed her dogs and given her the framed pictures as gifts,” he said about her goldendoodles. “She totally gets it.”

On a sunny day in May, Mr. Anastasis was dressed in a white tank top and black gym shorts that showed off a few of his many tattoos, among them an interpretation of Leonardo da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man on his left thigh and his name rendered in thorny cursive lettering across his upper back. He sat at his computer searching for a video he animated from the slices of his own M.R.I.

“I just have so much energy to create. And I’d keep going, too, if I hadn’t run out of space,” he said. Elsewhere in his home, there were cloudy resin pour paintings; blown-up photographs he’d taken with a disposable camera when he was 15; and a pair of awards for two short films he directed on the topic of mental health.

For Mr. Anastasis, having the space and time to make art, or as he described it, “the freedom to play,” is an extravagance he’s always wanted, and one he’s earned. “I’m lucky that I have a job,” he said. “I’m not doing any of this to pay the bills.” Although there are similarities between his salon and sculpting practices — namely the trust he requires from his clients and models — there’s a difference between trimming someone’s hair and creating a replica of their breasts, as he did for his friend’s mother. “She’d seen my work on Instagram,” he said. “I’m not gonna lie, I was nervous. But I also loved how open she was.”

He pulled up a recording of “im·mor·tal,” a performance he staged last fall at Laverdin Fine Arts in New York. The footage showed Jefferson “The Tank” Sullivan, an M.M.A. and Muay Thai fighter, sprawled naked on a massage table in the center of a white-box gallery. Mr. Anastasis was carefully layering strips of plaster-soaked cotton against Mr. Sullivan’s backside, which was shiny with Vaseline. About 20 minutes after applying them, he removed what had become a hardened shell. “It’s like an exorcism,” said Mr. Anastasis. “Something gets drawn out.” Mr. Sullivan described the experience as “magical,” while another one of his models, the fitness coach Matt Pattison, said, “It’s a therapeutic experience. Each time, I’d see him hold the piece like a child.”

Mr. Anastasis was raised by Cypriot immigrants in the town of Beckenham, Kent. His father, a cobbler, made shoe samples for Jimmy Choo. His mother owned Fiji Unisex Hair Salon, where older women from the neighborhood would go for their weekly shampoo-and-set treatments. From a young age, he loved hair: At night, when everyone had gone to bed, he’d uncover the Barbie dolls he’d hidden from his two older sisters and give them braids.

So it came as a surprise when he enrolled in the London College of Fashion’s fashion design technology program. “You know what’s messed up?” said Mr. Anastasis. “I went into fashion because my dad said only gay men do hair.” Laughing, he added, “Well, that didn’t work.”

“I’m not doing any of this to pay the bills,” said Mr. Anastasis, who lives among the plaster casts he creates, about his art practice.
Credit…Mark Elzey for The New York Times

In his early 20s, after working at one of Toni & Guy’s London salons for about a year, Mr. Anastasis moved to New York. He had been romanticizing the city since he saw the 1991 documentary “Madonna: Truth or Dare,” which, especially given his conservative upbringing, was revolutionary in its casual depiction of queerness. He crashed on a cousin’s couch in Jersey City until he saved enough money cutting hair to afford the rent on an attic apartment in Murray Hill, a neighborhood in Manhattan, which he shared with a male escort he met on Craigslist.

Mr. Anastasis slept on a mattress on the floor, but he could see the Empire State Building from his window. “It was heaven,” he said. By day, he worked as a stylist at Robert Kree salon; at night, he was a go-go boy at clubs such as Twilo and Limelight. “I was doing hair on acid,” said Mr. Anastasis, whose drug use eventually cost him his job at the salon. “I’d have a cigarette in one hand and a blow dryer in the other. I’d run downstairs to do cocaine, and then come back up and burn someone’s hair.”

When he was 28, he flew back to London to activate his green card. His parents picked him up at the airport. “I was really spiraling,” he recalled. “My mom saw me and immediately said, ‘You look like death.’ That’s when I knew I needed to get clean. And that’s when the second part of my life began.”

Mr. Anastasis returned to New York and successfully begged for his job back. He also found spirituality and later embraced veganism. Today, he meditates twice daily for 20 minutes, and has weekly phone sessions with an energy healer out of San Francisco who told him that in past lives he’s been, among other things, a medieval astrologer who also cut hair, and who was executed, and his mother’s lover.

More than a decade ago, Mr. Anastasis got the call that changed his life. A makeup artist friend of his said there was someone he needed to meet. “I can’t tell you who it is,” she said. “But it’s high profile. Just show up at the address.”

It was Ms. Wintour’s. She needed a blowout.

“I knew who Anna Wintour was, but I wasn’t that invested,” Mr. Anastasis said. He would see her every few months when her longtime hairstylist was unavailable. Roughly six years into Mr. Anastasis’s casual arrangement with Ms. Wintour, during which time he opened a salon of his own, her stylist retired.

“One day Anna turned to me and said, ‘Susan’s leaving. Would you be open to taking over?’” said Mr. Anastasis. “She goes, ‘As you know, I can be quite demanding.’”

But he bristled at her portrayal as a ruthless editor. “When a guy does what she does, he’s a businessman. But Anna gets such a hard rap because she’s a woman. It’s frustrating,” he said. “Listen, without getting too deep about it, I consider her a friend. In my hair career, she’s without a doubt the highlight. Even when I retire from hair, I won’t retire from Anna. As long as she’s going, so am I.”

And with them both, her iconic hairstyle. “I would hate to change it,” said Mr. Anastasis. “That’s like Karl Lagerfeld getting rid of his ponytail. Or Marilyn Monroe going brown. That bob is who she is.”

In Minneapolis, a Thriving Center for Indigenous Art

In Minneapolis, a Thriving Center for Indigenous Art

Credit…Jaida Grey Eagle for The New York Times

New York TImes: On a yellow brick building in Minneapolis, a mural of a woman with two braids that cascade into waterfalls and lips muzzled by a red handprint watches over Franklin Avenue.

Above the handprint — a symbol of solidarity for missing and murdered Indigenous women — the figure’s sunglasses reflect a cityscape and tepee.

The reflection represents the American Indian Community Blueprint, the 2010 document that provides a framework for Native urban community development, and the American Indian Cultural Corridor along Franklin Avenue in the Phillips neighborhood just south of downtown.

“It was a revolutionary document,” said Robert Lilligren, the president of the Native American Community Development Institute. Its goal? “To create an economic engine for the Native community.”

 

The mural, “Hearts of Our People” on the facade of All My Relations gallery in Minneapolis created by Natchez Beaulieu with a team of young female artists.
Credit…Jaida Grey Eagle for The New York Times

At the corridor’s heart is the yellow brick building, which houses the institute, as well as its community assets: the Four Sisters Farmers Market, Pow Wow Grounds coffeehouse and All My Relations Arts, an organization and exhibition gallery dedicated to increasing the visibility of contemporary Native artists, cultivating Native curators and connecting them to the influence of preceding generations.

This year, All My Relations Arts celebrates 10 years in this location, and about two decades of operation. It has become a point of pride, said Angela Two Stars, the organization’s director.

“A lot of the artwork that we display is from a native perspective, and that’s a different narrative than what we’ve been taught, you know, as American history,” Ms. Two Stars said.

Mr. Lilligren said the gallery “immediately became a center of attention, both in the community and the broader arts world.”

“It’s almost like sacred space,” he said.

All My Relations is a direct outcome of the blueprint, which outlined the corridor as a destination for Native American art, culture and food, citing examples such as New York’s Little Italy and San Francisco’s Chinatown.

 

“Bring Her Home” at All My Relations Arts
Credit…via All My Relations Arts

Marked by orange lamppost banners, turtle imprints on sidewalks, and a number of murals, the eight-block corridor is bookended by the Ancient Traders Market and the Little Earth affordable housing complex, which became famous as a home base for the American Indian Movement. Formed in the aftermath of the 1956 Indian Relocation Act, the movement went on to organize the 1972 Trail of Broken Treaties, a protest walk from the West Coast to Washington, D.C., to demand that the Nixon Administration honor its treaty commitments.

The Relocation Act forced many Native Americans to assimilate into urban areas, like Los Angeles, Chicago and Minneapolis, which has one of the largest concentrations of urban Native Americans in the nation.

“The American Indian Movement was founded here in 1968. I mean, literally here, you know, in the footprint of the American Indian Cultural Corridor,” said Mr. Lilligren, who served as the first Native American member of the Minneapolis City Council from 2001 to 2014.

He explained that the Minneapolis corridor is unlike others nationwide because of these organic roots, and because Native Americans own a majority of the property along Franklin Avenue, including the All My Relations Arts space.

The gallery itself has become a pipeline for cultivating talent. For example, Dyani White Hawk, a former All My Relations director and curator, has many works in the collection of the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian.

Jonathan Thunder, a painter, illustrator, and filmmaker, is the project mentor for the All My Relations initiative, “We Are Still Here,” which supports artists in making large-scale public artworks.

 

Angela Two Stars, “Okciyapi,” at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis.
Credit…Cameron Wittig for Walker Art Center

Ms. Two Stars is herself a high-profile artist whose installation “Okciyapi” was unveiled Oct. 9 at the Walker Art Center’s Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, placed next to “Spoonbridge and Cherry” by Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen.

“I call myself a fan girl of Native artists,” said Ms. Two Stars, who years ago participated in her first juried show at the gallery, where she met Ms. White Hawk, now her mentor. In 2018, she was invited back to curate a show about missing and murdered Indigenous women, “Bring Her Home,” now a recurring event.

“My grandmother was kidnapped and murdered when I was 9, so I used that to shape the exhibition,” Ms. Two Stars said. She shares this with participating artists to say: “I get it. You’re safe here.”

Juleana Enright first came to the gallery as a 2020-21 fellow of the Emerging Curators Institute, a Minneapolis program for arts professionals from diverse backgrounds. Mx. Enright, who is nonbinary, wanted a space for the show they were developing on Indigenous futurisms — inspired by Grace Dillon’s Native sci-fi anthology — and found All My Relations to be the right fit. Mx. Enright was hired as the gallery assistant in April and their showBiskaabiiyang (an Anishinaabe term meaning, “a return to ourselves”) is on view through Dec. 11.

A still from Santo Aveiro-Ojeda’s "1870: Cyberpunk Forever"

Credit…Santo Aveiro-Ojeda

“I just like that this gallery specifically was reinterpreting what it means to be a contemporary native artist and really highlighting people that you should know” Mx. Enright said.

All My Relations Arts initiatives extend outside the exhibition space, with community murals along the corridor like the woman with braids, created by Natchez Beaulieu and local youth in partnership with the Minneapolis Institute of Arts and its 2019 exhibition “Hearts of Our People: Native Women Artists.”

The presence extends beyond the corridor as well. The ongoing “We Are Still Here” initiative, in partnership with the Hennepin Theatre Trust and Clear Channel Outdoor, tasked artists with designing art for digital billboards throughout the metro area.

Ms. Two Stars says a favorite display is by Sheldon Starr, who paired an image of the Lincoln Memorial with text that says “Mass Execution U.S. Champ. Undefeated 1862-Current.” The piece refers to President Lincoln’s order to hang 38 Dakota men in Mankato, Minn., in 1862. It remains the largest mass execution in U.S. history.

“It’s a truth-telling initiative,” Ms. Two Stars said. “It’s really typical to a Native American kind of personality where they use humor to address some of these hard parts of our history.”

 

Sheldon Starr, “Mass Execution U.S. Champ,” on view on top of the Hennepin Theatre Trust in Minneapolis this April.
Credit…Hennepin Theatre Trust

In late October, an All My Relations Arts project in partnership with the Minnesota Department of Transportation led by Courtney Cochran will be installed at the site of a former Native American homeless encampment. Twenty-three painted plastic panels — stitched with resin beads and ribbon prayer “zip ties” to a chain-link fence — will read “Never Homeless before 1492.”

Ms.Two Stars and Mr. Lilligren said the community was embarking on refreshing the blueprint.

“Native people know what they want. Native people have the ability to realize their visions,” Mr. Lilligren said. “That was important for the native community to learn and for the broader community to learn.”

Let’s Go North: How to Hug During a Pandemic

Let’s Go North: How to Hug During a Pandemic

Illustrations by Eleni Kalorkoti

Of the many things we miss from our pre-pandemic lives, hugging may top the list. We asked scientists who study airborne viruses to teach us the safest way to hug.

A Canadian woman was so desperate to hug her mother during quarantine that she created a “hug glove” using a clear tarp with sleeves so the women could hug through the plastic. A video of two young cousins in Kentucky hugging and weeping after weeks apart in quarantine was shared thousands of times.

“We did not expect for them to react the way they did,” said Amber Collins, who recorded the reunion of her 8-year-old son, Huckston, with his cousin Rosalind Arnett, age 10. “They were so overjoyed they didn’t know how to express themselves, except to cry. This hug shows how powerful the human touch truly is.”

Not only do we miss hugs, we need them. Physical affection reduces stress by calming our sympathetic nervous system, which during times of worry releases damaging stress hormones into our bodies. In one series of studies, just holding hands with a loved one reduced the distress of an electric shock.

“Humans have brain pathways that are specifically dedicated to detecting affectionate touch,” says Johannes Eichstaedt, a computational social scientist and psychology professor at Stanford University. “Affectionate touch is how our biological systems communicate to one another that we are safe, that we are loved, and that we are not alone.”

To learn the safest way to hug during a viral outbreak, I asked Linsey Marr, an aerosol scientist at Virginia Tech and one of the world’s leading experts on airborne disease transmission, about the risk of viral exposure during a hug. Based on mathematical models from a Hong Kong study that shows how respiratory viruses travel during close contact, Dr. Marr calculated that the risk of exposure during a brief hug can be surprisingly low — even if you hugged a person who didn’t know they were infected and happened to cough.

Here’s why. We don’t know the exact dose required for the new coronavirus to make you sick, but estimates range from 200 to 1,000 copies of the virus. An average cough might carry anywhere from 5,000 to 10,000 viruses, but most of the splatter lands on the ground or nearby surfaces. When people are in close contact, typically only about 2 percent of the liquid in the cough — or about 100 to 200 viruses — would be inhaled by or splashed on a person nearby. But only 1 percent of those stray particles — just one or two viruses — actually will be infectious.

“We don’t know how many infectious viruses it takes to make you sick — probably more than one,” said Dr. Marr. “If you don’t talk or cough while hugging, the risk should be very low.”

There’s tremendous variability in how much virus a person sheds, so the safest thing is to avoid hugs. But if you need a hug, take precautions. Wear a mask. Hug outdoors. Try to avoid touching the other person’s body or clothes with your face and your mask. Don’t hug someone who is coughing or has other symptoms.

And remember that some hugs are riskier than others. Point your faces in opposite directions — the position of your face matters most. Don’t talk or cough while you’re hugging. And do it quickly. Approach each other and briefly embrace. When you are done, don’t linger. Back away quickly so you don’t breathe into each other’s faces. Wash your hands afterward.

And try not to cry. Tears and runny noses increase risk for coming into contact with more fluids that contain the virus.

While some of the precautions may sound like a lot of effort for a simple hug, people need options given that the pandemic will be with us for a while, said Julia Marcus, an infectious disease epidemiologist and assistant professor at Harvard Medical School.

“There’s a real challenge right now for older people who worry that they won’t be able to touch or connect with family for the rest of their lives,” said Dr. Marcus. “Keeping hugs brief is particularly important because the risk of transmission increases with more prolonged contact.”

Here are the Dos and Don’ts of hugging, based on the advice of Dr. Marr and other experts.

 

“This position is higher risk because the faces are so close together,” said Dr. Marr. “When the shorter person looks up, their exhaled breath, because of its warmth and buoyancy, travels up into the taller person’s breathing zone. If the taller person is looking down, there is opportunity for the huggers’ exhaled and inhaled breaths to mingle.”


This position, with both huggers looking in the same direction, also is higher risk because each person’s exhaled breath is in the other person’s breathing zone.


For a safe, full-body hug, turn your faces in opposite directions, which prevents you from directly breathing each other’s exhaled particles. Wear a mask.


Hugging at knee or waist level lowers risk for direct exposure to droplets and aerosols because faces are far apart. There is potential for the child’s face and mask to contaminate the adult’s clothing. So you might consider changing clothes, and wash your hands after a visit that includes hugs. The adult also should look away so as not to breathe down on the child.


In this scenario, the grandparent is minimally exposed to the child’s exhaled breath. The child could be exposed to the taller person’s breath, so kiss through a mask.


Julian Tang, a virologist and associate professor at the University of Leicester in England who studies how respiratory viruses travel through the air, said he would add one more precaution to a pandemic hug: Hold your breath.

“Most hugs last less than 10 seconds, so people should be able to manage this,” Dr. Tang said. “Then back away to at least two meter separation before talking again to allow them to catch their breath at a safe distance. Holding your breath stops you exhaling any virus into their breathing zone, if you are unknowingly infected — and stops you inhaling any virus from them, if they are unknowingly infected.”

Yuguo Li, a University of Hong Kong engineering professor and senior author on the paper that Dr. Marr cited to make the calculations, said that hugs probably pose less risk than a longer face-to-face conversation. “The exposure time is short, unlike conversation, which can be as long as we like,” he said. “But no cheek kissing.”

Dr. Li said the risk of viral exposure may be highest at the start of the hug, when two people approach each other and could breathe on each other, and at the end, when they pull apart. Wearing a mask is important, as is hand washing, because there’s a low risk of picking up the virus from another person’s hands, skin or clothes.

Dr. Marr noted that because the risk of a quick hug with precautions is very low but not zero, people should choose their hugs wisely.

“I would hug close friends, but I would skip more casual hugs,” Dr. Marr said. “I would take the Marie Kondo approach — the hug has to spark joy.”

By 

Tara Parker-Pope is the founding editor of Well, The Times’s award-winning consumer health site. She won an Emmy in 2013 for the video series “Life, Interrupted” and is the author of “For Better: The Science of a Good Marriage.” @taraparkerpope

Illustrations by Eleni Kalorkoti

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