Person

Penny Payne

White cotton T-Shirt featuring a spray-painted image of an orange and yellow spray-paint can

The Made in New York video, directed by Les Levine for WilliWear Productions, was a personal flashback to the craziness of the eighties!

In the video clip showing the artist-designed T-shirts, I was sort of “freeze-break dancing” in my unique way, which came very naturally to me. I probably got the job because, being a trained dancer, I was doing a lot of “still life” modeling, which was extremely in demand at the time in New York City and Long Island. I modeled in store windows for Macys in Herald Square, Jaeger-LeCoultre Boutique at Madison Ave., and Americana Manhasset in Long Island—I also modeled at a wild Echo New York cocktail party where I was up on columns among the guests. Choreographed fashion shows were a popular format—all types of live presentations. I had that angular body type that worked with this whole aesthetic, which Les was going for. I think he let me do my thing because I “got it.” The experience was wild and wacky, and I loved it. I remember being at the AREA launch event—it was noisy and dark except for the video screens around us. I think we were wearing the artist T-shirts and Willis clothes as party “guests.” This was not a club I had been to, but there is an image of that event tucked in my memory. With the 1980s coming back from time to time over the years as an inspiration, I am thrilled I was an organic part of the sights, colors, patterns, sounds, and fashion of that fun period.

White cotton T-Shirt featuring a spray-painted image of an orange and yellow spray-paint can

Artist T-shirt by Dondi for WilliWear Productions, 1984