Exclusive Preview: Lena Dunham in Vena Cava

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Published September 6, 2011

Sophie Buhai and Lisa Mayock , the duo behind Vena Cava, are enthusiastic about “every-girl.”
For the fourth installment of their photo series, “Vena Cava Friends,” the designers called upon  young filmmaker Lena Dunham (of runaway success coming-of-age tale Tiny Furniture) to see if she’d participate. “We saw her movie and thought she was hilarious, cool, and a great female role model,” Buhai tells Interview. “We were so nervous emailing her. Totally starstruck. We told her we loved her movie and asked if she wanted to collaborate, and she responded immediately.” Dunham quickly admitted to loving the label.

The “Vena Cava Friends” project emerged after the girls saw the intimacy with which Jason Frank Rothenberg shot his own friends. Moved by the revealing photos, Sophie says they “…thought we needed some kind of other venue for our clothes that wasn’t a fashion or lookbook shoot—personal and real life.” They decided to do a portrait series with him, featuring Vena Cava’s clothes on friends in places where they would normally hang out. Their first subjects were Mayock’s childhood friend (an acrobat) and Buhai’s mom. “What we are trying to say with this is that it’s not just our singular vision that’s important,” says Buhai. “How do you interpret this? How do you wear this?”

For her shoot, Dunham creates characters. Each “look” from the Fall 2011 collection has an accompanying vignette scripted by Dunham, imagining a wearer of Vena Cava’s clothes. “She came up with the concept of how the clothing makes her feel like a different character,” Sophie says. The result: an amazingly funny, full-bodied re-contextualization of Vena Cava’s charming, and influenced, vision.