Following the release of the highly-anticipated, limited -edition Rebel Socialite “Cristal Brut 1984” T-shirt, we caught up with the man behind the bottle, Kristoff Murphy. Murphy is well known throughout New York City–both Downtown and Uptown. If you’re on the scene in the five boroughs area, chances are you’ve attended one of his parties or seen him dapping folks up as he makes his way down the street. His most recent endeavor is his new line of T-shirts that feature a Cristal bottle on them and draw inspiration from Tom Sachs’ well-known signature. Peep our chat with the Rebel Socialite and don’t forget to snag one of his exclusive Cristal T-shirts before they disappear.
Mass Appeal: What was the inspiration behind the Cristal logo?
Kristoff: The reason I decided to go with the Cristal bottle is because growing up in the ’90s Cristal was the ultimate status symbol. You couldn’t watch a Bad Boy video without seeing a bottle of Cris’ nor could you listen to a Jay-Z song without hearing a reference of that gold bottle. So, I guess it’s safe to say that “Cristal” is embedded in my head as the ultimate “Momma, I made it” symbol. [Laughs]
Will there be other bottles?
Yes there will definitely be more bottles. Veuve Clicquot and Dom Perignon just to name a few. Can’t give it all away just yet. [Laughs]
What made you pick Tom Sachs for your inspiration? With everyone going for brands like Balmain or Givenchy? Why Tom Sachs?
Tom Sachs creates “friction.” My good friend Heron Preston said it best, “Friction creates fascination.” If people can figure you out then you’re boring, but if I create a friction with Rebel Socialite, I will create a fascination that will keep people coming back. Nobody has mastered that like Tom Sachs has! His work addresses a wide range of issues including appropriation, branding, consumerism, globalization, entertainment and functionality. How many artists can say that?
What type of clothing inspires you the most?
Streetwear and high-end brands both inspire me the most because both styles are lifestyle-based and believe it or not both styles inspire each other. That’s the reason that stores like Opening Ceremony and Colette can even exist.
What designers do you look to?
The only designers I can honestly say I look to are Ralph Lauren and Alexander Wang. As you can see both of those designers create more than clothes, they actually create lifestyles as well. Think about it: Ralph Lifshitz of the Bronx became Ralph Lauren of the Hamptons, how fly is that? On another note I’m more so inspired by other individuals outside of fashion. People like director Harmony Korine, rock star Axl Rose, and nightlife impresario Richie Akiva and DJ Jus Ske’s Legendary “SKE” Crew.
What brands do you wear?
The brands I enjoy wearing are Supreme, aNYthing, UNDFTD, Black Scale, 40 oz NY, Nike and Converse.
How do you feel about the whole “inspired” movement?
I’m inspired by the whole inspiration movement, but too much of anything can get tired quickly. The whole purpose of this is to “inspire others to aspire” but you can’t inspire others if everyone’s doing the same thing. Feel me? My good friend 40 oz Van struck gold when he put out those Balmain and Givenchy inspired hats. I support that, but I don’t support you copying him and creating a hat because then it just gets corny.
What’s your relationship with 40 oz Van, who seemingly started this “inspiration movement.”
My relationship with 40 oz Van is a unique one. Not only is he a close friend, but he’s also a mentor. My dad always instilled in me to “surround yourself with people that are on your level or above, that way you’re never settling for less” and my friendship with 40oz Van is an example of that. Not only is he a good friend who I can talk to about whatever, but he inspires me as well. Not just with his words, but his actions.
How have people responded to the shirts in the early release?
Before the official launch of the Rebel Socialite “Cristal” T-Shirt I printed up a few sample tees for a select group of friends and family. The response for those has been overwhelming. Everyone who saw those individuals wearing them wanted to purchase a shirt early, but I had to stick to the script and give them out to the ‘pulse’ of the streets. You know, the people who keep things authentic, edgy, fun and interesting. They are the restauranteurs whose spots we dine at, the nightlife impresarios whose spots we party at, the DJ’s whose music we dance too, the socialites who we rub shoulders with, the hoteliers whose spots we frequent. So, as you can see, the T-Shirt itself really isn’t so much about the “Cristal” Bottle it’s more so about the “status statement” of what it represents . . .
What’s next for Rebel Socialite?
You can expect it all . . . More fashion, more parties, more consulting. I’ve even have a few television projects in the works as well! Just much, much more.