God help David Lauren if Sylk somehow latches onto this film project. The resulting catastrophe will make
Swing magazine look like a rousing success. With the build-out at 415 Broadway just getting under way
and Fred and Bruce in charge of the finances Sylk still didn't have any money. It was an unfortunate
circumstance for someone who was trying to pass himself off as a multi-millionaire. He never picked up
a check. Not even for drinks. And he rarely ate in the chic restaurants he frequented. When he did eat,
he ordered appetizers. Not that it mattered. Instead of thinking that Sylk might not be a millionaire, Fashion
people just thought he was cheap. The thing that placed him above suspicion and made his parsimony seem
nothing more than a slight character flaw, was the lease he held at 415 Broadway. Those who personally
inspected the 5,000-square-foot raw space that SoHo Models was slated to occupy were duly impressed.
Situated on the corner of Broadway and Canal in The National City Bank of New York building, the
third floor was immense sun-drenched and featured majestic 15-foot ceilings. "It was a fabulous space!"
exclaims Richard Renda, a stylist and video producer who took several meetings with Jason Sylk during
the pseudo pre-production phase of SoHo Models. "The space is what gave the project instant credibility.
It's what got me and a lot of other people initially interested and excited about being involved."
One of those people was photographer Peter Beard. Although Beard hadn't shot fashion since he was
under contract with Vogue in the 60s, his name still held sway within the community. Whenever a new
batch of his blood-splattered fine art prints made its way from Africa to SoHo, the opening never failed
to draw the usual collection of peripatetic fashion editors who would certify the work as fabulous and
dutifully reserve a page in their magazines for an air kiss review. Sylk tracked Beard down at his SoHo
gallery and offered him ten percent of the agency in exchange for lending his "expertise" to the project.
What he really wanted, though, was to buy Beard's name so he could use it as currency around town to
bolster his own reputation and lend further credence to the SoHo Models facade. When he did come on
board, not only did Sylk gain entry to the most exclusive night spots in town, including the "Peter Beard
Room" at Lotus, but Beard even phoned in a quote for the Page Six item in which he designated himself
as the official in-house photographer of SoHo Models. The phone sex king didn't have to open his mouth
for Beard to realize that his new partner didn't know the first thing about fashion. Interestingly enough,
this worked to Sylk's advantage. Beard loathed anything having to do with the fashion industry, and never
would have joined forces with some Evian toting, Prada-clad fashion clone. But Sylk, who Beard pegged
as a "nerd," was exactly the kind of guy he would consider working with. "Maybe I'm stroking myself,"
says Sylk brashly. "But I think Peter likes my energy. He thinks I'm fun. Nice to be around. Entertaining.
A lot of these big shots I'm friends with say, 'I like Jason because I think he's funny.'"
Sylk does admit, however, that Peter Beard, along with the rest of the modelizer mafia (Paolo Zampoli,
Giseupi Cipriani, Marco Glaviano), were attracted to the project primarily because they saw it as an
opportunity to sleep with his hand-picked harem. "Everybody is more turned on by the sex girls than the
models," explains Sylk. "The models are little stuck up girls who use people to get somewhere. The other
girls are real young, hot, open-minded and fun." Even today, Beard heartily supports Jason and SoHo
Models. "Modeling agencies are horrible businesses with dykes that demand sexual favors from the girls
before they book them," he says adamantly. "This is the cheap shit industry that you've seen exposed over
and over." Beard's involvement in the project became the foundation upon which Jason built his phantom
model agency. Why someone like Beard, who spent his entire adult life in Fashion and should have known
better, would lend an endorsement to Sylk's SoHo Models via The New York Post, was puzzling to many.
written by Rene Chun


Sweat Shop"

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