Gen Art’s newly appointed creative director Phoebe Dahl needed no persuading to design a collection to mark the 25th anniversary of the “Jurassic Park” franchise.
Through a deal with Universal Pictures, the collection also marks Gen Art’s 25th anniversary and was created with a more elevated approach to design. Made entirely in Los Angeles, the collection is the first of what will be 10 Gen Art-Universal Pictures fashion collections that will magnify emerging designers. The “Jurassic Park” edition will launch at Macy’s Feb. 15 where shoppers will be able to customize varsity jackets with “Jurassic Park” patches or check out other apparel and accessories from the line.
Knowing many fans of the Steven Spielberg flick associate “Jurassic Park” with safari wear, Dahl wanted to take a route that was a little less traditional. “I looked a little bit deeper and went into dinosaur prints, dinosaur eyes or even just jungle prints with safari silhouettes like jumpsuits, khakis or Laura Dern’s button-up shirt. But all of it is made of more elevated fabrics,” she said.
Having watched the movie many times over, Dahl said she was constantly screen-grabbing different parts. “If you haven’t watched it recently, you definitely should. You kind of forget what an epic movie it is. It has this magical realism to it that allows yo to escape into a completely different world that is so far into the past that we as human beings in this day and age have never, ever experienced. I think kids, adults — whatever just love it.”
Of Hollywood lineage, Dahl’s grandmother is the actress Patricia Neal and her grandfather Raold Dahl wrote “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” “Fantastic Mr. Fox” and “The BFG.” Phoebe Dahl met Spielberg, the “BFG’s” director, at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival when it was screened. The family’s belief in magic was passed down from one generation to the next. Dahl said her mother Lucy always built “amazing tree houses” for her and her sister Sophie, and frequently woke them in the middle of the night for “midnight adventures or midnight snacks.”
“My grandfather used to climb up a ladder outside of my mother’s and her sister’s window with a long stick. While they were falling asleep, he would open the window and blow dreams into their window. So they grew up completely believing in magic and this fantasy world,” Dahl said. “It’s so important to open kids’ minds that way. I have taken that into my adult life as well — always dreaming, which is a beautiful thing. I get to see the world in such a positive light. ”
“Creativity definitely runs in my family and being able to see something and interpret it into a different medium is something that I love to do, and that my grandfather was able to do,” she said. “My childhood was so magical and that’s the reason why I was drawn to such magical realism and this kind of fantasy world that ‘Jurassic Park’ has. I really believe in escaping into different worlds and believing in other things than just as human beings and this time and on this planet.”
An inveterate traveler, Dahl generally spends a few weeks of every month on the road. She recently designed sustainable uniforms for staff at the Nomade Hotel in Tulum. Her own four-year-old clothing company Faircloth & Supply is now more travel-focused — structured looks made of comfortable knit fabrics that are designed to go from airplanes to meetings. The sustainable brand abides by a one-for-one model, donating a school uniform and scholarship to girls in Nepal. The designer recently collaborated with San Francisco-based Timbuk2 for a travel-friendly multifunctional backpack that is due out in May. “Collaborating on these projects is so much fun. I really love it. Being able to be a creative director on all these projects is awesome especially being able to take everything that the company stands for and believes and morphing it into something different for each company. It’s cool to see the different outcomes with different projects,” she said.