Visitors to Catherine Walsh’s New York City apartment would be forgiven for asking, “Do you have any place to sit?”
When it comes to the fragrance executive’s aesthetic, nothing is everything. “I am an orthodox minimalist,” declares Walsh.
Her zeal for minimalism led her to take what she refers to as the ultimate art pilgrimage: a trip to the Chinati Foundation, the sprawling compound of 40 buildings in Marfa, Texas, amassed by artist Donald Judd. The remote location, which houses much of Judd’s work as well as other artists’ such as Dan Flavin, occupies 340 acres of land in west Texas.
For Walsh, that first visit 10 years ago has now become a thrice-a-year journey and a seat on the board of the Foundation. “I have this insatiable taste for buildings and art, even though it has never been part of my vocation,” says Walsh, who is senior vice president of American Fragrances at Coty Prestige. “I love to see the way they play off one another. Chinati is the Holy Grail of both those things.”
One of Walsh’s favorite spaces occupies two converted artillery sheds that house 100 aluminum works by Judd. “I have such great respect for Judd’s very detailed vision and his ability to carry it out. I’m a disciple of Judd’s in that way,” she says.
Today, Walsh is one of 15 board members who meet quarterly in various cities. Her role, she says, is to help realize the ambitions of the museum’s director, Thomas Kellein. “Many of the buildings in Marfa owned by Judd remain vacant,” she says. “But Judd had a vision for what he wanted all those buildings to be filled with. The director would like to see that vision come to life.”
Walsh, who studied art while attending graduate school at Ithaca College, finds solace in simplicity. “I have a specific taste for things and it’s very edited. That’s why I long for these types of environments, where it’s incredibly peaceful and there’s an unthinkable lack of distraction. You’re there and you can really focus.” It’s in the quiet moments that Walsh finds her best ideas to translate celebrities’ and designers’ fragrance concepts into commercial successes. “In my vocation everything is three dimensional, which is why I gravitate toward sculpture,” she says. “It’s not that I look at Judd’s work or Flavin’s work and say, ‘Let’s do a bottle like that.’ It’s not literal,” she clarifies. “It just provides me a peacefulness and a focus where I’m able to think.”
She muses for a moment before adding, “It’s this luxury of having space and quiet—I don’t get a whole lot of that in my life, so it totally relates to something I would like to have a lot more of.”
“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