Lenny Kravitz Photographs Daughter Zoë Kravitz and Friends for Studio 54-Inspired Exhibition
Most of the world knows Lenny Kravitz as a Grammy-winning musician, acclaimed photographer (he’s shown at Art Basel Miami Beach) and street style influencer (you know what we’re referencing). But what many may not know is that he’s also the Creative Director of the high-end champagne brand Dom Pérignon. And for his first gig with the brand, he photographed a Studio 54-inspired campaign that it will transport you right back to the glamorous days of disco.
The campaign is a series of photos from a star-studded dinner and dance party that Kravitz hosted in his (now-sold) L.A. mansion. (The photos are currently on display in his new photography exhibition titled Assemblage, at N.Y.C.’s Skylight Modern.)
He gathered a group of artists from all disciplines for the event, including his daughter, actress Zoë Kravitz, her friend designer Alexander Wang, model Abbey Lee Kershaw, actress Susan Sarandon, French choreographer (and Natalie Portman’s husband) Benjamin Millepied, former soccer player Hidetoshi Nakata and actor Harvey Keitel (the latter three of which Kravitz never met before the soirée).
“People became very friendly and I now have a new friend in Harvey Keitel – I didn’t see that coming but he’s wonderful,” Kravitz tells PEOPLE with a laugh.
“I was very much inspired by this book of Studio 54 photographs by Ron Galella who shot all those wonderful shots of New York nightlife and so I wanted it to be natural lighting, inside, in the dark, with a flash,” Kravitz says about his new exhibition.
“It started off with people standing around; it can be stiff. So we just started to hang out and talk and my daughter was the catalyst. She got everybody to relax and got everybody talking. By the end you can see everybody really knows each other now, everybody’s really having a good time and it’s not fake.”
But Kravitz revealed that he initially wasn’t going to invite his daughter to the dinner party. “I would have never mentioned it [to Dom Pérignon] because that would have been [like nepotism], ‘Oh yeah let me bring my daughter in.'”
What transpired was an evening spent hanging in the kitchen, which then morphed into a huge dance party in the house’s club (yes, the house has a club). “No matter how big your house is, everybody’s in the kitchen. You could have 30 rooms, everyone’s in the kitchen,” Kravitz jokes.
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Many of the dinner party guests reunited in N.Y.C. on Friday for a celebration of the opening of Kravitz’s exhibition, where they posed alongside their dinner party snaps.
Kravitz explains to PEOPLE that he’s been interested in photography ever since he was a kid, when he saw his father, who was an NBC journalist, using his Leica camera to cover the Vietnam War. “When I was 24 I got a record deal and I began to have to be in front of the camera which is all well and good, but I thought it was far more interesting what was happening behind the camera.”
He showed his first exhibition, Flash, at Art Basel Miami Beach in 2015. The photos captured paparazzi and fans taking photos of the singer himself. “That was not what I intended on shooting but every time I went out to shoot I got chased down by paparazzi and/or fans so they ruined my pictures and they ended up being what the exhibition was.”
He says he appreciates all of his different artistic outlets equally because he craves creativity at all times. “We all know music is the nucleus of my creative person, but design, photography and even acting – I’m just as passionate about them as I am music,” he says. “I’m always weaving the different mediums and it enables me to continually be creative.”
When asked if he would ever expand his creative outlets to fashion design, he pauses. “I’ve been asked that so much and I’ve been offered that so much,” he says. “At the time when that was happening I could have made a lot of money and I could have had a very big business and maybe one day I will still do clothing but it was like everyone was doing it, all the musicians, and I tend to run the other way when I see everyone doing something because I like to be myself.”
Instead he explains that that was when he got into interior design and architecture (he owns Kravitz Design, an interior design firm). “I just basically took my own money and started the company and lost a lot of it figuring it out, but it’s been wonderful.”
Now that he’s established and respected in the interior design world (he listed his last home for $38 million) he says clothing is something he may still consider one day, but not until he has a completely unique concept for his brand.
“I have to think about how and what and where I would manufacture it and how I would do it in a sustainable way and how it could perfectly green and right because the world doesn’t need another clothing line. If I ever did it I would do it maybe some very interesting boutique sort of way and it would be more of a statement of how it’s being done and why it’s being done and who’s making it and no one’s being harmed and people are being paid fairly.”
Assemblage is on display at Skylight Modern in N.Y.C. through Oct. 6.