femme fatale

nico, the original it girl, inspires a new art show.

by nylon

It Girls have been around long before the term even existed, but there is one big difference: While 21st century It Girls get Tumblr pages, 20th century It Girls get gallery exhibits. Take Nico--born Christa Paffgen--who is the focus of a new photography show opening today at New York City's Rooster Gallery. The model-turned-Warhol superstar-turned Velvet Underground singer was as much muse as maker, but her many years on the scene inspired lensman Jerry Schatzberg over and over again. These photos range from the mid-'60s when the striking German model first landed in New York, to late-career shots in the '80s, but all display one undeniable fact: Nico was always one step ahead, whether she was wearing a Mad Men-era frock or an all-black ensemble. The appeal is obvious to Alexander Slonevsky, co-curator of Nico: New York, New York, and director of the gallery.

"This is a project that we've wanted to do since Rooster Gallery opened two years ago," he explains. Part of it is location; while Alexa has London and Cory has Los Angeles, Nico (despite her German upbringing and time in Italy--that's her in La Dolce Vita) made a place for herself in frenetic New York City. As Slonevsky notes, "The Lower East Side is the perfect setting for this exhibition because of Nico's close affiliation with this neighborhood." So pull on your Chelsea boots, put on some nude lipstick, cue "Femme Fatale" and "These Days," and head past the modern-day It Girls to check out one of the originals.

Nico: New York, New York runs September 5-October 21 at Rooster Gallery (190 Orchard Street, NYC)