My one big busy life #1: Mitzi Lorenz
Kicking off my One Big Busy Life series is the legendary stylist Mitzi Lorenz. Mitzi was one of the ringleaders of the Buffalo collective – led by her good friend and partner-in-crime, Ray Petri – in the 80s. Buffalo, combining street trends and high fashion, was a groundbreaking style that still inspires many today. I caught up with Mitzi, who has a 15-year-old son, to find out how she juggles her creative life with motherhood.
My work has always blended into my personal life, so it was inevitable that my son would grow up being part of that too.
1. What’s a typical day in the life of Mitzi Lorenz like?
I work on various different projects within Photography/Art/Fashion and financial investments. I’m quite an irregular person, so balance is very important to me. Sometimes it’s quite intense concentrated work, other times breezy lunches.
2. Your work’s very creative. How does home life fit into such a schedule?
I’ve managed to teach myself to flip rather well from one task to another. My lawyer once said I wear many hats; I agree and I have to change these many hats constantly!
3. Do you work in a studio that’s separate to home?
I have an office/studio in my home on a separate floor to my living space.
4. What do you find most challenging as a working mum?
Time! Trying to stretch it as much as possible. Then the domestics. I’d led quite a charmed life before being a mum and managed to avoid it, but now I’m an expert! I have to say the school run was one of the toughest things for me to adjust to.
5. How do you juggle work and family? What’s your secret?
A holistic approach works well. My work has always blended into my personal life, so it was inevitable that my son would grow up being part of that too.
6. What do you do to relax?
Hot baths in winter, swing in the hammock in the summer, and a glass or two of wine and a good gossip.
7. Why and when did you decide to train in corsetry?
I trained just before I had Oscar. Corsets are so beautiful and wonderful to make, like sculptures. I also trained in pattern cutting around that time. Then I became pregnant and got busy working on my book [Buffalo]. I’ve attempted picking corsetry up again a few times since – it’s such a large project to do. Some day I’d like to design a full collection, but for now they sit floating around in my mind along with oil paintings and novels.
8. You styled Boy George’s “Move Away” video, is that right?
Yes, it was at a very destructive time in George’s life, not long before Culture Club broke up.
9. How did you start working with Ray Petri?
We started working together from the very beginning, before it was called styling. We were just doing what we loved, which became our career.
10. Buffalo created its own agenda outside the fashion system. Do you see that happening today? What with the recession.
Yes, even more so. We were creating our own work during Thatcher’s Britain, we were the disillusioned youth fighting for our rights. Imagery was our voice. It was through that we gained a following and respect.
11. When you see the youth today, do they remind you at all of your Buffalo days?
My friends’ kids do for sure, so many are bright and talented. But not what I see on the news so much.
12. Could you tell me a little about what you did post-Buffalo?
The Buffalo book and exhibition. Marriage, child and divorce followed pretty soon after. I home-educated my son until he was 8 years old. Having been left short financially from divorce, I started investing in property, stocks and shares. I’ve continued to work quite selectively on styling, books and exhibitions.
13. What would you say is your biggest achievement?
Having a bestselling book with an exhibition at the V+A was pretty great; I’ve had holy communion by Pope John Paul; being fashion editor of the coolest mag [The Face] in the world at 21 was up there. But Oscar, my son, has to win the trophy!