Two years ago, Pari Ehsan, aka Pari Dust, felt like she was ready to take the next step in her career. Over the previous half decade, the fairy-esque woman known for posing in couture fashion next to works of contemporary art—donning a banded Salvatore Ferragamo blouse in front of Daniel Buren’s signature stripes, for instance, or a Lou Dallas dress next to a suite of colorful Isa Genzken collages—had gone from being a designer with a blog to a bona fide influencer. She had amassed hundreds of thousands of followers on Instagram, was sought after by brands from both sides of the art-fashion divide and was ready to push her project to the next level.
But that change didn’t really come about like she had hoped. “It was one of those things where you think you’re ready for something, but really you need to master all these other small things to be able to realize the next level of a concept,” says Ehsan in her soft, metered voice. “It was an ongoing realization over the past two years. There were things in my life that I hadn’t sorted out, stones I had left unturned. I was really forced to recognize those and resolve them.”
So she went to work. She doubled down on Pari Dust, making increasingly sophisticated pictures that could compete with shoots from the glossiest of fashion magazines. She expanded her website to include interviews and personal essays. And she began taking on more collaborations than ever.
Now, Ehsan is finally ready to take the next step. And it’s an ambitious one.
Ehsan plans to expand Pari Dust into a full-fledge editorial platform, one that spans social media and her own website. She wants to bring on a dedicated staff and incorporate more writing, more video content, and more creative collaborations. Perhaps most importantly, she’s wants more voices. Citing Anthony Bourdain as an example, Ehsan wants to use her signature mash-up of mediums to shine a light on cultures around the world. As a first generation American born to an Iranian father and Dutch mother, she’s long been fascinated by, as she puts it, “art’s ability to transcend region, race and religion.”
“I want to explore the ways in which art and fashion intersect around the world, how they shape culture and identity.” It’s ambitious, especially considering her humble roots, but don’t count her out. She may look like a fairy, but she has a dogged work ethic. And the stars are literally in her favor. For Sagittarius’—which Ehsan, an astrology nut, is—2019 is the first and luckiest year in what is supposed to be a particularly fruitful cycle of 12 consecutive years.
“For the last two years, I've been carrying a backpack full of bricks,” she says, with a smile. “All the work that I've done is important and I'll get to keep it forever, but this next period, the next 12 years—it's going to all explode.”