“There was something timeless about it,” says Singer. “And yet it’s also timely, because that scene is hard to re-create in a city that doesn’t allow for much small business anymore. It was wonderfully inclusive and not about money.”
Except that soon enough it became clear to the MisShapes troika that this was going to be something big. Which is to say moneymaking. They’re flown all over the world to D.J. at fashion shows and private parties; this provides most of their income (they’ll still be available for special events). They’ve peered through matching curtains of black hair in dozens of fashion spreads. Lezark recently warranted a spread in Vogue, for which she shot the photographs, and is a model in the fall H&M campaign photographed by Terry Richardson. They were turned into a living art installation at a Versace party in Milan.
“We’ve never said we’re the most creative or proficient D.J.’s,” says Krelenstein. “What we’ve done is created an aesthetic people are attracted to.” People like the tastemaker Singer, as well as publicists like Richard Gallegos, who hired them to D.J. at the opening of the Gramercy Starck condo. “It doesn’t hurt that they’re attractive,” he says. “They’re not so edgy that people are intimidated by it. I think there’s an accessibility to their energy and their style.”
MisShapes’s operational base is a four-bedroom duplex in the East Village, decorated in Later Collegiate style: a couch slipcovered with a black sheet, a black plastic DVD rack, a dusty non-flat-screen television. There are two walls of magazines, filed in huge Ikea bookcases. Once when I was there, the ceilings and walls of the top floor were covered with aluminum foil—just like Warhol’s Factory!—a leftover from a Nylon magazine photo shoot. (Nylon’s idea.)
Lezark’s hardly around since she started dating 22-year-old actor Max Minghella, star of Art School Confidential and son of director Anthony. “Leigh is happy at home with her boyfriend,” says Krelenstein, “and Geordon is happy at home with his computer.” These days, Nicol slogs all day behind his MacBook on the new magazine, with the help of their assistant Janelle and the MisShapes intern, a blond, bespectacled 17-year-old named Jackson, who looks like Garth from Wayne’s World.
“I don’t question the professional advantages,” says Nicol, sighing, about what has happened to the three of them. “I’m starting to question the personal side.” MTV and VH1 offered the trio reality shows. Lezark and Krelenstein were in favor; Nicol nixed the idea, fearing he would lose all his friends and not be able to find a boyfriend. People have gone through their garbage; Lezark has been followed home and threatened. Ironically, it’s the Internet, which made the MisShapes, that has bunkered him in his house. “Normal people can go out and meet people at bars. We can’t do that anymore,” says Nicol. “The Internet has made it so that people have so much information about us that they don’t even have to ask us anything: They know it. Or they think we’re assholes, so they won’t talk to us, or they’ll talk about us. Both make a night out really not pleasant.”
This spring, they were flown to Miami to D.J. a private 18th-birthday party. When they toured the boy’s bedroom, they saw that his walls were covered with printouts of every MisShapes party photo that had ever been posted online. The teen had built a cardboard model house and labeled it HOUSE OF JEALOUS LOVERS (after a song by the band the Rapture). It contained pictures of the MisShapes and everyone they had dated and broken up with—information he had found online. “It was really, really bizarre,” says Nicol.
But can the MisShapes fantasy continue without the weekly party? Perhaps they realized that unless they shut the party down, put its coolness behind the velvet rope of instant nostalgia, it would quickly lose its remaining value (already the taunting editors of Gawker.com have attempted to draw a circle of uncoolness around them by labeling them “haute whores”). “When you’re 19 and people like what you’re doing, they want to take photos of you, they want to dress you up, it’s flattering,” says Nicol. “It feeds your ego. But you don’t think about the repercussions: who’s going to be seeing it, where that can lead.”