Back in the Bowery where she had a signature store for 50 years, Patricia Field wasn’t the least bit wistful Wednesday night.
Before being honored along with Kimberly Hatchett by the Lower Eastside Girls Club, Field was all about the present. Thor Equities reportedly plunked down $8.6 million for what used to be her 6,700-square-foot space. The stylist and retailer recently sold a substantial chunk of her art collection that used to grace its walls to the Japanese investor Kazuo Nakamura whose son was in the crowd at Wednesday night’s Spring Fling event at the Bowery Hotel.
WWD: When you were in middle school what did you like to do after school?
Patricia Field: I used to play cards with my friends — rummy, poker and a form of bridge called bid whist. My mom was working so I was free. My friends would come over and we would all play cards.
WWD: Why did you want to be here tonight?
P.F.: The Girls Club is a wonderful prototype. I don’t know of another in the city or around the country. Going to college was a big eye-opener for me. But I got to college. For a lot of young women, The Girls Club opens the doors to their imagination.
WWD: What’s going on with work?
P.F.: I’m going back to my third season of “Younger” on TV Land. I created an art-fashion gallery for my own site. This is Scooter LaForge, who is one of my leading painters that I represent. Scooter’s got a wonderful sense of humor [and will be part of exhibitions in New York, Vienna and Sweden this year].
WWD: Is it strange to be in the neighborhood without a store?
P.F.: No, I had my store for 50 years and I did a good job. I just reached a point where I was like, “OK, I did it.” I wanted to do other things and move on in my life. Kazuo Nakamura, who built the Keith Haring Museum [in Kitamori City, Japan] and a resort as well, bought 75 percent of my art collection. My paintings just arrived in Tokyo Bay and once they get through customs in a week or two, they will be moved to the museum. They aren’t just by Haring. They’re from all the artists of that time — Susan Pitt, Suzanne Mallouk — all of the kids.
WWD: Would you like to say what his investment was?
P.F.: Let me put it this way, I was very happy that he bought it because I’ve known him for many years. I knew that he would keep my collection together and he will tour it. He offered me a price, and I said, “OK, fine,” because I wasn’t going to sell it here, there and everywhere. I didn’t have room for it. Some of it was in storage. A lot of it was in my store. I enjoyed it for many years but I wanted to move it out.
WWD: What’s most freeing about not having a store?
P.F.: Not to have the responsibility. The good part is the people and the creative kids. As my store got bigger, it was like, “I’m the buyer, the owner, the manager, the sweeper…”
WWD: Do you have a favorite stylist today?
P.F.: Me! Well, one of my assistants, Paolo Nieddu designs “Empire.” I’ve got a lot of stylists who graduated from my school.
WWD: What should be changing in fashion?
P.F.: We should be chasing technology. That’s what we need in the industry. They’re still stuck in the Industrial Revolution. We should be molding clothes like we do with chairs and bottles. In the late Eighties, a friend of mine got a grant from the U.S. government to mold clothing. He developed a process, but the government doesn’t give you money for marketing for industrial design. But it’s there, he’s got it.
WWD: Are you in touch with the actresses from “Sex and The City”?
P.F.: Here and there. I keep in touch with Kim Cattrall more but I see Sarah Jessica Parker. Kim has a successful series in Canada now “Sensitive Skin.”
WWD: Have you been traveling?
P.F.: I was just in Greece for Easter seeing my friends. I love going there. I was in Athens and then we went to an island on the Ionian Sea called Lefkada. It is part of a chain of islands including Corfu.
WWD: Was everyone talking about the migrant and economic crisis?
P.F.: The Greeks all help the migrants. Many migrants came to the island where my family comes from, Lesbos. They take care of their migrants but the EU made them close the borders near Macedonia. So they’re, like, stuck there. The Greeks are helping them, doing what they can. It’s like in World War II, when a lot of Jewish people came to Greece.
WWD: Will you get involved with the presidential election?
P.F.: Other than voting? I would like to honestly.…Look, I will vote for Hillary if she is the Democratic candidate but I’m kind of hot and cold about her. There’s a part of Hillary that I’m cool with and a part of Hillary I’m not cool with. But I should dress her. I believe in a lot of things Bernie says. I don’t know how he proposes to get these things done but I agree with him. How do all these smaller countries manage all of these things for their citizens like medical, education? In France, the food for the kids in school is healthy and made by a chef. They eat out of china. Why does a country as rich as ours feed our kids slop?
WWD: What are you reading?
P.F.: I tend to read philosophical and political books. A neighbor, Carne Ross, who worked for the British Foreign Service, wrote a book about anarchy, “The Leaderless Revolution.” It’s basically about people taking responsibility on an individual basis for running their community, their state, their country. Because [the way things are], it is in the hands of a few who are totally disconnected from the people. It’s not a democracy. It’s kind of on the burning world…I would love to see someone stand up and tell the Americans what they didn’t learn in school. They listen to a guy like Trump and he says this, that and the other thing and they say, “Yeah, yeah, yeah.” They have no understanding of the history of their own country. The ones who go for Trump are making that decision because [he says], “Oh, I’m going to fix things.”