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.”