“I’m more of a lady who lounges,” Breitenstein told WWD, while sporting a Hanro lounge sweater. “But usually the girls who I draw are all decked out, pretty glamorous Ladies Who Lunch. So this was really fun, just doing my girl in a new light.”
By “doing” she meant hand-painting all four walls of the shop with images of women in bras, bodysuits, leggings and high-waisted briefs. The color palette is slightly toned down, with muted pinks and shades of beige, which is a sharp contrast to the vibrant reds and bold yellows she employs for work with makeup brands like MAC Cosmetics and Chanel. But her signature whimsical brushstrokes and romanticized mood are evident in the life-size mural.
More than 100 people braved the bitter cold Thursday night to see it — think fashionistas, artists, influencers and friends of Hanro — as they sipped Champagne and browsed next season’s intimates and loungewear collections.
“When we built this store, right underneath [New York City’s] High Line, the space was screaming out to be painted on,” Jan Snodgrass, president of Hanro USA Inc., said. “It’s a great way to show the art in a very authentic way. And a lot of our customers love art. This is a way to show them we appreciate the same things that they appreciate.”
That could be why Hanro, the Swiss intimates apparel brand, which dates back to 1884, has commissioned three artists to paint the space in the last seven years. (Four if you count last April’s collaboration with Swiss artist Blanda at Hanro’s Beverly Hills store.)
Snodgrass said Breitenstein was chosen for her ability to mix expressionism with high fashion.
But the artist said she was just happy to produce something that will exist in real life.
“I do a lot of digital stuff, content for Instagram or print magazine, usually 11 x 14,” Breitenstein explained. “I love drawing for web sites and stuff, but it just feels different. This was a whole new ball game. I was up on the easel for eight to nine hours a day. I felt like a fresco painter or a Michelangelo painter, painting on the walls. Artists don’t get many chances to do something that lives in person these days.”
The mural is on display at 806 Washington Street in New York.
Snodgrass said Breitenstein’s mural will remain in the store for about a year. After which time the real-life artwork will disappear forever.
“When we do the next [mural], we paint over the current one,” he said. “Since it’s on the wall we can’t keep it.”