By  on November 9, 2009

Two years ago, Stella Ishii visited the Dia:Beacon art museum in upstate New York with a close friend, designer Rozae Nichols. “We saw [the work of] this conceptual artist Fred Sandback,” recalls Ishii, president and founder of The News Inc., a downtown Manhattan showroom for young designers. “There’s a beautiful piece there where he defines space with thread.” Something about those string sculptures, set against a spare, white-walled room, ultimately stuck.

Fast-forward to spring 2010. Sandback has become the unlikely first muse behind a new contemporary collection launched by Ishii and Nichols, dubbed Ian. Look closely at the simple shirts and sheath dresses, for instance; there are subtle, stray lines tracing from front to back and side to side, reminiscent of Sandback’s work. “The world of conceptual and minimalist art is a really strong comfort zone for me,” explains Nichols. “It will continue to be a strong point of reference for the collection.”

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