The Look: Joie Lee

Most of the films Joie Lee has acted in so far have been those of her brother Spike Lee. This is no comment on her talents, which are many. It's just the way it is. Besides, Spike's films are better than most. And he makes them in New York, where Joie lives. But today she finds herself in a makeup chair in photographer Firooz Zahedi's L.A. studio, getting ready--getting made up--for a photo shoot to promote Spike's latest, Mo' Better Blues.

Her eyes are closed because Daniel the makeup artist is working on them. "You'd better finish talking before I start on the lips," says Daniel. "Once I start on the lips, forget it." I note that these makeup sessions take a long time. "You want long, go to Faye Dunaway," advises Daniel. "Why?" asks Joie, opening her eyes, suddenly interested. "Because she gets up to have a cigarette," says Daniel, "she gets up to do something else. When you're finished , it's four hours later." Joie smiles at the idea, but does not get up to find the hand-rolled lipstick-stained Drum cigarette she left in the back room.

This is Joie's second trip to L.A. "It's OK," she says. "Less grueling than New York." (That's how New Yorkers find most places.) But leaving New York can be grueling too. On the way out here, she and her hairdresser, Clif (they look good together--both small-boned, wearing bright, loose clothing--very New York), had to wait six hours at the airport, and the cat she was bringing out for a friend got put on a different plane. Then this morning, Joie had to change rooms at the Westwood Marquis, and at the studio, Firooz disappointed her right off by not having any cappuccino. The studio is filling up with people--stylists, assistants, editors--talking about Brando's son killing someone up on Mulholland last night. Hollywood gossip, too slanderous for publication, is bandied about. All of it sounds plausible. Sarah Vaughan is up loud on the stereo.

An hour later, Joie Lee is still in the makeup chair, and she doesn't want to talk about Spike because he can speak for himself. "I don't get involved in Spike's creative process." I note that Francis Coppola and Spike both use their fathers' music, and their sisters. "I was reading Vanity Fair," says Joie,"about Coppola on Godfather III and how he uses his family in his films. It was nice--very nice to read that." Much later, Joie emerges from the dressing room in the first outfit, a blue Oscar de la Renta gown with a long train. Firooz looks through the camera and tells her to lean a little to the left, and as she does the ten people behind the camera lean with her. Firooz tells her to "drift away," and she closes her eyes again and is drifting, probably back to New York.

Opening spread (left page): Navy stretch top by Ernestina Cerini, available at Greta, Beverly Hills; (right page) Pale blue chiffon gown and blue satin pumps by Oscar de la Renta, available at Fred Hayman, Los Angeles. Sapphire earrings by Reinstein/Ross, New York City. Previous pages (left): Orange silk crepe gown (sequin bolero not shown) by Eva Chun, available at Greta and Fred Hayman, Los Angeles. Rhinestone bracelet by Jay Feinberg. Shoes by Fratelli Rossetti; (right) Seafoam green chiffon shirred dress with halter neck by Pamela Dennis, at Greta, Los Angeles. Shoes by Fratelli Rossetti. This page: Toffee nylon tank dress with ostrich feather hem and tail by Helmut Lang; gold sandals from Calvin Klein. Both available at Gallay.

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