By  on May 2, 2008

NEW YORK — Elie Tahari and his wife, Rory, have assembled an art collection that includes works by Robert Motherwell and Cy Twombly, as well as photography by Nan Goldin, Herb Ritts, Steven Klein and David LaChapelle.

Inevitably, their interest in the field has worked its way into the Elie Tahari collection. This summer, Tahari will launch a limited edition capsule collection he designed in collaboration with Kenny Scharf.

"My wife has been loving his paintings for a long time," Elie Tahari said. "Prints are very important right now, and Kenny is a master of prints. He paints with very vivid colors."

Scharf recalled how the Taharis' children, Jeremey and Zoe, particularly loved his doughnut-themed works, and he bonded with them.

The Taharis met Scharf at the most recent edition of Art Basel in Miami, when their friend, New York gallery owner Paul Kasmin, made the introduction.

For the collaboration, Scharf created a painting called "Floatungle," which Elie Tahari then translated into a print for the two looks: a silk chiffon caftan, for $248 at retail, and a cotton voile pareo, for $168. Both will be available in yellow or green.

Scharf has previously designed his own fabrics, collaborated with Stephen Sprouse and Todd Oldham, created mannequins for Ralph Pucci and designed Swatch watches. He is working on a project with Movado.

"I have always definitely been very interested in breaking down any boundaries that exist with the art, fashion and commercial worlds, and I have been in that realm for over 20 years," Scharf said. "I think the rest of the world is finally catching up. There are lots of different ways of going about making art. It's not only for a wall in a gallery. It could just as well be clothes. The definition of what is art and what is fashion is blurring."

Elie Tahari agreed that the synergy between the fashion and art worlds is increasingly relevant. "Many people are doing it, and it's a great vehicle to inject excitement into the collection," he said, adding that Jackson Pollock was another artist with whom he could have envisioned a collaboration. Pollock also happens to be another one of his son's favorite artists.The dresses he designed with Scharf will be sold exclusively at Elie Tahari's East Hampton, N.Y., and SoHo boutiques, and a portion from the pareo's sales will benefit God's Love We Deliver. The Taharis are slated to celebrate the collaboration with a cocktail reception at the Tahari boutique in East Hampton on May 31, where they plan to serve doughnuts in honor of Scharf.

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