“I didn’t want to go into gender with this project. It has become such a tokenised buzzword that people want to include into everything.”
You might recognise Lily from his Instagram handle @nosejob. His personal feed is an endless stream of selfies that highlight his extravagant, glamorous personal style. This includes but is not limited to: sequins, animal prints, lots of naked flesh (mostly his), leather pants, feather boas, thongs and heels. He’s often joined by BFF Daniel John Samson, a BA womenswear graduate from CSM. There’s lots of Lily manspreading or showing off his – let’s be honest here – immaculately round bum.
His captions are written in a vernacular that is all his own including expressions like ‘quaine’ ‘mi life,’ ‘fuck moi,’ ‘bless’ and ‘slaggy.’ His Facebook page overflows with posts composed of the same vocabulary. These are written in the spur of the moment, sharing his reflections, requests, and admirations for the likes of Gemma Collins and Katie Price.
Lily Bling is the nickname of Ryan Peterson, a twenty-five-year-old Central Saint Martins student on the MA Fashion Communication & Promotion course. The line ‘heiress to David Barry’ on his Instagram reveals his background. Lily’s father Barry Peterson is the owner of the clothing manufacturer with sale points at Debenhams. This accounts for the lavish lifestyle Lily is able to lead.
We drive up to an automatic gate between two miniature turrets. Behind it looms a massive mansion, with Tudor flourishes, whitewashed and red-bricked facades, and more turrets. A short gravelled driveway leads to a medieval front door. When I mention the size of his parents’ house, Lily’s exclaims ‘It’s not that big. It’s not!’ But I know from his Instagram stories that an immense garden – including swimming pool – lies behind the building.
Lily is giving me a preview of his final major project – LVLY by lily, a series of photographs that examine masculinity and glamour. A total of 34 men posed during a three-day shooting marathon. He’s also planning an exhibition that will showcase his work to the max.