She wore a stonewashed denim jacket, tight black jeans, a vintage Calvin Klein sweatshirt and dainty little Church’s, carrying a massive floppy and empty brown leather purse, swinging it around and flipping it over her shoulder when we started walking. I remember this movement in slow motion. This was in Alexanderplatz, 2009. John Roberts introduced us. Later she sent an email about her new project. She already had a business card, it was hot pink and made of plastic. 

We worked together on the Sophie “graphic identity” she would use for the next 10 years. I found the font in an obscure Korean graphic design magazine. It was unreleased and they wouldn’t let us have it until it was finished. She loved it, so I tried to draw my own version we could use instead. I struggled for a few months to recreate the feeling with my own letterforms. She finally replied about my poor imitation, “I think the O looks a bit like the Scream mask.” And later, “I like in the walt one how some letters are perfectly ordinary- as you might see printed anywhere and then some have melted or morphed but there’s a seamless flow from structure to plastic.” So she waited. The music didn’t come out. She was always revising the songs anyway, over and over. Then after almost a year, the font came out. She told me in an email. She bought a license the first week it was released, and we immediately sent the first record to print. 

She once sent me an early draft of Lemonade and I listened to it on my iPod walking to an opening at the New Museum, something I guess I did back then. A giddy little secret in my earbuds. Her music always made me laugh first.

I remember the first time I saw her wearing lipstick up close, in a Mercedes Metris. Marcella taught me to make tomato sauce good in Berlin by adding a little sugar at the end. We danced at a bar with glowing fish tanks. A Rene Ricard painting faced with plexiglas over the toilet at ZZ’s Clam Bar, Benny Blanco recommended it to her, a clove on fire in my drink and smoke coming out of a brass pineapple, how ridiculous.

White plate and pink neon. BC Kingdom called Kelly Rowland on FaceTime and I played “Someone to Call My Lover” in the pool house basement. She said the Chainsmokers just moved in next door. Her speech at John’s wedding was a social masterpiece. The way she held the microphone. Some weird acid guy with an airbrushed dragon on his white shirt. Jeffrey had little colorful jewels we took. Miniature Diptyque candles in a gift bag. Shiny black duo in a whitewashed room in the south of France. I remember Sophie was the first that evening to remove the large bouquet of flowers from the table so she could speak to the person opposite her. Quaff of orange hair, gazebo in a field. Gloss in the pool at night. Portable speaker, floating in the pool at night, she left.

Once we met in the studio where Michael Jackson recorded Thriller. She let me try her Sweetgreen caesar salad, I’d never heard of it. She laughed at the Straight Male costume I wore specifically for the occasion - a Polo shirt and a Yankees hat. She was in full Gucci, a Gucci belt bag with a big gold logo, smoking a joint. Surveillance cameras, a secret entrance. This was much later. 

The studio had a crystal water dispenser with fresh cut fruit floating around – strawberries, kiwis. Her backpack was on the couch, clear plastic and visibly full of vitamins. There were framed napkins on the wall with Michael Jackson drawings of Charlie Chaplin. She played new music she was working on, I couldn’t stop laughing. It was so loud.

She drove really fast in her dirty black Prius, totally relaxed blowing through stop signs in the Hollywood Hills on a grey early afternoon to get Premium Cold Brew. Premium Cold Brew “is only one dollar more,” she said. She told me once at Hugo’s she would actually prefer to own a Ford Mustang. She asked me if I knew that Percy’s name was spelled “percent sign -Y.” I later mentioned this to the cat’s owner and she had no idea what I was talking about. I think about this all the time.

The day before the Oil of Every Pearl’s Un-Insides photo shoot we went to Bergdorf Goodman, she wanted to get a little treat. She bought a red Calvin Klein dress that sort of had the texture of a garbage bag or a parachute. She wanted to buy me and Nick something too. Nick chose a blue Balenciaga baseball cap and I chose a $300 umbrella. I remember her reaction to the umbrella but I can’t describe it. I took a selfie of us on the escalator and didn’t post it.

May 27, 2022