NEW YORK — Donna Karan is ready to carry on her late husband Stephan Weiss’ legacy.
Weiss, an artist and sculptor, was a staunch supporter of the arts and education, and Karan, who uses his studio on Greenwich Street here for runway presentations, now aims to use it for conceptual art exhibits, as well.
Next Friday, Karan, in conjunction with the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, will present “Skin Tight: The Sensibility of the Flesh.” This is the first in a series of exhibits and programs to be presented there.
“Skin Tight” will examine how art and fashion influence each other, showcasing the work of designers who challenge concepts of identity and aesthetics through clothes, photographs, installations and videos. Designers to be displayed include Viktor & Rolf, Hussein Chalayan, Martin Margiela, Boudicca, Walter Van Beirendonck, Raf Simons, AF Vandevorst, Bernhard Willhelm, Under Cover and Li Edelkoort. The exhibit was first staged at the MCA last summer.
“It’s a dream come true,” Karan said in a telephone interview from Parrot Cay in the Turks and Caicos Islands, where she is vacationing. “It’s melding fashion and art together, which is my husband and I.”
The show is curated by Sylvia Chivaratanond, the director of the Perry Rubenstein Gallery here. Items to be displayed include Chalayan’s mixed-media installation of a sitting room featuring his coffee table that transforms into a dress, as well as his signature Airplane dress; leather corsets by Vandevorst; Margiela’s Tabi Boots, and colorful hats by Van Beirendonck.
“Of course, I would have liked to have been in the show,” Karan said, laughing, “but some of my favorite designers are in there, whom I have the utmost respect for. I know Hussein quite well, Margiela I adore, Vandevorst I have pictures of. I have such respect for these designers.”
In May, Karan plans to host a presentation of furniture designed by graduate students of the Design Academy in Eindhoven, Holland, put together by Edelkoort, the school’s chairwoman.
“It’s sort of bittersweet because it was hard for me to look at the studio in any other way than having my husband’s work there, so to transform it into another expression is difficult,” Karan said. “I have such a regard for Graham Graham [the studio director], so I felt confident I was putting it in good hands.”
The exhibit will run in the Stephan Weiss Studio at 711 Greenwich Street by appointment March 4-31.