Langley Fox: A Hemingway in All But Name

Langley Fox wants to make it in fashion and art–without people knowing her as a Hemingway.

Clarke Tolton

You might imagine growing up a Hemingway the gateway to a gilded life. After all, Ernest Hemingway was one of the greatest American authors of the 20th century. But Langley Fox, his 24-year-old great grand-daughter, is proving you can make it sans the glamorous family name.

Fox is a full-time artist and a part-time model who forsook the Hemingway surname for her middle name, Fox, because it “makes her feel like she’s a storybook character.” Nonetheless, the anonymity hasn’t kept her from captivating both the art and fashion world with a multitude of artistic collaborations. She’s been commissioned by Alice+Olivia and Louis Vuitton, landed both a Marc Jacobs fragrance campaign and a spot walking in the brand’s coveted runway show at New York Fashion Week last September, and even has a few fashion collaborations in the works.

Fox grew up in Ketchum, Idaho—the Hemingway home base for decades and where she still frequently visits. Her mother, Mariel, is the Oscar nominated leading lady in Woody Allen’s 1979 film Manhattan. Her sister is actress and model Dree Hemingway. Being attached to the Hemingway legacy has been an honor to Fox, but she’s not letting it characterize the person she is or who she is becoming—a mindset she shares with her mother.

Mariel’s most recent project Running From Crazy, is a documentary that follows the actress’s journey as she seeks to understand the “Hemingway curse” that has plagued the family with a long history of suicide and mental illness.

“I want to change the dynamic and … the viewpoint that it’s not a family of tragedies,” Mariel Hemingway emphasizes in the trailer for the film directed by two-time academy award winner Barbara Kopple. “It’s actually a family of complete and total embracive joy.”

Fox, who appears in the documentary, revealed to the New York Times last year that she “definitely grew up the healthiest person on the planet.” Her first ‘cookie’ was a blan rice cracker. Even today, her ‘go-to’ destinations wherever she visits are health food stores: LifeThyme in New York, Erewhon in Los Angeles, and Glow in Ketchum. She has inherited her mother’s philosophy of a sound body and mind—along with her looks.

“I mainly tell [my family] about art projects and opportunities and keep the modeling on the down low,” Fox told The Daily Beast. Perhaps she wants to draw a distinct line between herself and her sister Dree, a model and actress who has appeared in Vanity Fair, W, and Harpers Bazaar, walked the catwalk for Chanel, and even snagged an international Gap mega-campaign last year. She also had a leading role in the movie Starlet.

Her older sister’s impressive example isn’t keeping Fox from pursuing a parallel career path. After graduating from Otis College of Art and Design, the LA-based illustrator was continuously contacted about modeling, but was dead-set on keeping her art at the forefront. “I signed with Next so they could guide my path while making sure they understood that art was my main passion.” The result turned out to be a harmonious combination—modeling mixed with artistic collaborations. Foam magazine had the artist add illustrations of cats, birds, and flowers to her photo shoot of “Spring’s Most Art-Inspired Looks.”

Depending on the subject matter, it takes Fox anywhere from two days to a week and a half to complete a project. She can sit at home drawing from 8am to 8pm with nothing more than a lunch break, sometimes going four days without seeing anyone.

While the artist currently resides in Los Angeles, her main source of inspiration comes from the time she’s spent in Ketchum. Skimming through her portfolio, you will find that many of Fox’s works include hints of nature—which proves just how much of her inspiration comes from Idaho. “I think that my love for arrows, feathers, birds, animals, and just nature in general certainly [does],” she explained. “I feel that most of my deep thoughts and ethics come from Idaho. My style comes from anything that I’m attracted to, that could be old icons, people on the street, to made-up characters in my mind.”

Fantastical characters are something that Fox has mastered. There are gangster cats (and one inspired by David Bowie titled “Kitty Stardust”, women with electric hair, crows, skulls…the list goes on. “When I get the freedom to do what I want I think there is a realistic fantasy that is created,” she said. “I like to draw things photo-realistic but somewhat dark and whimsical; it’s realistic without being reality.”

Next, Fox will have original artwork decorating a Marc Jacobs’ pop-up store during New York’s fashion week, as well as launching a purse with TL-180 featuring a custom drawing printed on leather and two t-shirt collaborations—including one with Elkin.

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When asked if we would be seeing her on the catwalks of New York Fashion Week, Fox joked, “If I do, I just pray they have flat shoes that are small because I have mini feet (unlike every other model).” But even if she is not on the catwalk, expect to see her art everywhere—signed Langley Fox, not Hemingway.