NEW YORK — Come spring, Echo Design might have a new retail hot spot: The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
The accessories company has enlisted artist Hunt Slonem to collaborate on a limited-edition collection of scarves and tote bags, due out in January.
“We’ve always wanted to have artist collaborations,” said Lynn Roberts, vice president of communications at Echo Design. “The moment you walk into Hunt’s studio, it is just so incredibly inspiring. We recognized tremendous synergies with the type of art that he creates and the type of prints that we’ve used in our history.”
For the brand’s first artist series, the Echo Design creative team looked to Slonem’s most iconic works for inspiration. “Our creative director went to his studio and saw his art hanging everywhere,” said Roberts. “She chose some of his most beautiful and iconic paintings to turn into textile art. We brought our choices to Hunt, and he immediately approved. Our design team then found the perfect fabrics to show and bring out the rich fabrics in his art and bring the vibrancy of the artwork to the market. When you see his paintings, they are so alive and vibrant. There is an energy to them.”
The result is a small collection consisting of six different scarf designs, each depicting a piece of Slonem’s art, as well as one tote bag. While the collaboration is a new endeavor for the brand, Roberts ensures that the project is very much in tune with Echo Design’s existing aesthetic. “We both derive inspiration from nature and are passionate about beautiful color,” she explained. Nature and color are very much buzzwords of the collaboration, with Slonem’s sketches and paintings of bunnies, butterflies and birds appearing in vibrant hues, done in variations of silk, rayon and Lurex.
Slonem, whose career spans more than four decades, was pleased with the results of his first foray into fashion. “If it doesn’t happen during your lifetime, it will happen after you are dead, so I might as well enjoy it while I’m alive,” he said of the fashion-art connection. “Its something I’ve always been interested in doing. Echo Design has a very effective team, and it was a very quick process. There was nothing I didn’t like.”
Today, Slonem’s paintings hang in more than 50 museums worldwide, including the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington; the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Fundació Joan Miró in Barcelona, and the Whitney Museum of American Art and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York. Roberts hopes that Slonem’s art-world appeal will usher in a new customer for the brand. To do so, Echo Design has reached out to museums and galleries to carry the line, in addition to the brand’s existing retailers.
The collection will make its debut in early 2015, with price points ranging from $48 to $148. Following the initial spring delivery, Echo Design will collaborate with Slonem for summer and fall 2015. “There are a million possibilities,” Slonem said when asked what was to come. “I paint daily.”
“Azzedine has been one of the biggest influences in my life. He has always been such a strong, loving, fatherly figure to me. I call him Papa. His designs are indescribably unique, they are pieces of art. He knew how to make the female form look its loveliest. I have so many memories of him; my favorite might be during my first show with him in Paris. He liked me and he wanted to help me get more work. He called all his friends at Kenzo and Comme des Garcons, and asked them to book me. They said, ‘But she can’t walk!’ And he said, ‘but she has such a great ass!' His friendship and support has been the great privilege of my career. I can't imagine life without him. Repose en paix mon Papa.” - @stephanieseymour tells @wwd. #wwdfashion (📷: @steveeichner) #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa, flanked by two of his closest friends, models Stephanie Seymour and Naomi Campbell.
He designed Seymour’s dress for her 1995 wedding to Peter Brant, and treated Campbell (who famously called him Papa), like a daughter. For more on the legendary designer, tap the link in bio. #wwdfashion #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa's “I-did-it-my-way” ethos stood out starkly at a time when brands are experimenting with consumer-facing fashion shows, coed formats and trans-seasonal collections – anything to perk up lackluster sales of ready-to-wear in an age of Insta-everything. “It’s not creation anymore. This becomes a purely industrial approach,” the late designer told WWD in an interview last year. “But anyway, the rhythm of collections is so stupid. It’s unsustainable. There are too many collections.” Read more about the iconic designer’s life and work on wwd.com, link in bio. #wwdfashion #azzedinealaia (📷: @WWD Archive, 1986) #alaia
Sneaker reselling app @goat’s latest exhibit, "The Greatest: New York," tells the story of New York's sneaker culture. To celebrate the exhibit, an intimate crowd gathered on Thursday night at the pop-up gallery space, located at Platform in Culver City, to hear guest speaker and illustrator @esymai talk about her own rise in streetwear and women in the business. "For me I'm just someone who is creative. I like to create things," said Chang. #wwdfashion
Azzedine Alaïa, one of the most iconic couturiers of the modern era whose body-con designs defined Eighties fashion, has died in Paris. The diminutive Tunisian-born designer, known for his structured knitted dresses with fitted waists and impeccably cut, figure-hugging second skin silhouettes was deeply admired by his peers, and counted supermodel Naomi Campbell - his adoptive daughter - among his inner circle, one of a gang of glamazons including Farida Khelfa, Carla Bruni and Stephanie Seymour who became ambassadors of his style. (📷: Alexandre Guirkinger) #wwdblast