A mermaid, a fashion film, a bath bomb and ‘The Great Gatsby’ [Updated 4:37 p.m. May 10]

The Coldwater Project
Musician-composer-arranger Ysanne Spevack, who has worked with Smashing Pumpkins, talks about her music-fashion-film-charity endeavor, the Coldwater Project.
(Kathy Flynn)

Members of L.A.’s film music elite mingled with weather-beaten eco-warrior sailors and neo Edwardian fashionistas amid costumes from Baz Luhrmann’s “The Great Gatsby” Tuesday night at the multi-textured unveiling of musician-arranger-composer Ysanne Spevack’s ambitious music-fashion-film-beauty concept, the Coldwater Project.

There are many layers to Spevack’s Coldwater Project, but in a nutshell, it’s a collection of 13 songs, each with accompanying short film, charity affiliate and brand sponsor.  It’s a novel way to approach an album release but one that reflects the do-it-yourself, collaborative-yet-individualized spirit of our times. 

“The lesson of this entire album is to just be yourself,” explained Spevack, wearing a powder pink Alexander McQueen silk chiffon dress and custom-made shoes by high society shoe designer Terry de Havilland, who had reached out to Spevack and asked her to be his “shoe muse.”

Guests included director James Eckhart (brother of Aaron), visual effects guru Nick Brooks (“The Matrix,” “Twilight”), graphic novelist Grant Morrison (“Batman Returns,” “The Invisibles”) and L.A. “celebrity shaman” Shaman Durek, among the first to encourage Ysanne to step out of the background and to sing. Longtime collaborator Billy Corgan of the Smashing Pumpkins was unable to attend “because he is on tour, which is a really good reason not to be here,” joked Spevack in front of the guests at Culver City’s lavishly appointed new Century Guild gallery space, from whose walls hung the art of contemporary artist Gail Potocki, as well as titans Gustav Klimt, and Alfonse Mucha, alongside Flapper frocks and Leonardo diCaprio’s tux from “The Great Gatsby.”


The first song from the collection is “The Mermaid Song,” recorded with the Prague Philharmonic Orchestra, whose accompanying fashion film was shot in the Art Deco apartment that has housed stars such as Gloria Swanson and Groucho Marx. The film showcases the jewelry of Russell Lownsbrough (Vivienne Westwood’s go-to jeweler) alongside the paintings of Gail Potocki, who also appears in the film, in which Spevack wears couture by Alexander McQueen and Terry de Havilland.

LUSH cosmetics created a mermaid-shaped bath bomb (ingredients include sea salt and seaweed) especially for the project, and every time a fan purchases a bath bomb or pays $2 to download the song and film, all proceeds will go toward the charity Sea Shepherd, which works to protect marine life.” *

Purchase the song, film and LUSH bath bomb on May 13 at

* A previous version of this post incorrectly described Sea Shepherd’s current mission.



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