California dreaming: meeting Hedi Slimane’s latest muse, Lucia Santina Ribisi

A female model standing in a garden, back turned to the camera, wearing a a top with block sleeves and a colourful body with the word "Baby" written across the back in a stencil font.
Hedi Slimane’s latest muse is 18-year-old Californian artist Lucia Santina Ribisi who designed a print for his S/S 2016 Surf Sound collection
(Image credit: TBC)

‘When he first approached me about the collaboration it was via an early morning text,’ says 18-year-old artist Lucia Santina Ribisi, who awoke in her Californian dorm to a message from Saint Laurent creative director Hedi Slimane regarding his S/S 2016 Surf Sound collection.

Serendipitously, someone from Slimane’s studio had seen Ribisi’s Facebook page through one of their models. ‘I didn’t actually have any photos of my work, just one of me arranging paintings in my dad’s garage,’ she says. ‘It seemed like somewhat of a coincidence that they found me, which made it all the more surreal.’

Turns out the Saint Laurent polymath had actually taken Ribisi’s picture when she as too young to remember; Ribisi’s father is actor Giovanni Ribisi and mother painter Mariah Waterfall O'Brien, so she grew up amongst the melting pot of the Los Angeles art, music, film and fashion scene that Slimane likes to weave into his work.

Less than four weeks after sending the image of her Pet Name painting, Ribisi found herself in Paris watching a model walk down the runway in their Baby Teddy jacket. ‘I am really interested in how Saint Laurent seems to compare underground youth culture with high fashion,’ she says of Slimane’s tenure at the house. ‘The two worlds seem wildly different, but they come together somehow through Hedi.’ Adding, ‘The Surf Sound collection feels like the kind of California boy I've grown up with.’

As Slimane’s latest endorsement, Ribisi joins a line of artistic collaborators who have included John Baldessari and Luke Thomas, in addition to 81-year-old artist Billy Al Bengston this same season. With plans to attend the Pratt Institute for Art next autumn, Ribisi’s work spans performance art, sculpture and painting, exploring ideas of identity on the cusp of womanhood and rights of passage, given her early exit, pre-graduation from high school to attend specialist art institutions.

After spending the past summer working on a short film called Small Fry in Poland with director Eva Michon, Ribisi’s next project is her curatorial debut compiling a feminist art fundraiser in Los Angeles, which will address sexual objectification in social media.

But before then, she hopes to get her truck bed piece, sweetly titled My American Dream, on the road. ‘I had a fairly unstable childhood, always moving houses, three divorces, four different schools,’ she explains. ‘Much of my work is based on working through that. I have always wanted to buy a house at a young age so that I wouldn’t have to move. This year, I plan on building a tiny portable house, driving it around for a little bit, parking it somewhere gorgeous, and moving in,’ she says, adding, ‘Why not?’

Lucia Santina Ribisi in a black jacket

Ribisi wears their Baby Teddy Jacket, £3,920 by Saint Laurent by Hedi Slimane

(Image credit: Laetitia Hotte)


Ribisi wears their Baby Teddy Jacket, £3,920 by Saint Laurent by Hedi Slimane