Perry Ellis International Inc. took its mind off Thursday’s shareholders’ vote to go private by occupying itself with creative pursuits.
National Hispanic Heritage Month may have ended Oct. 15, but that hasn’t stopped the company from observing its Latin American roots. Its Cubavera men’s wear brand keeps the party going with a live auction of original commissioned artworks through Nov. 1, within its multifaceted campaign #CubaveraIcons. Three works by Gustavo Novoa, Alexander Mijares and Edward Granger, who previously created custom guayaberas at a live painting event and has collaborated with Hermès and Ralph Lauren, premiered on the brand’s and artists’ web sites and social media channels before their live auction on Paddle8.com.
PEI president and chief executive officer Oscar Feldenkreis said the artists were each chosen for their unique style. “They represent a multicultural mix, again in line with the Cubavera brand, which has translated across demographics and has grown into a staple for a multicultural and multigenerational consumer,” he said.
The only parameters for the artists were to draw inspiration from the collection. Novoa zeroed in on its signature prints and PEI’s home base in Miami with a painting of Florida panthers primping in tropical shirts. Titled the Front Runners, his work starts at $3,500 and is expected to fetch $20,000. Mijares brought elements from daily Cuban life, from cafecitos to Spanish guitars, for his painting, which opens at $3,000 and is estimated to sell for $12,500. And Granger’s multimedia abstract painting, the most affordable at $1,200, with an estimated high of $7,000, incorporates guayabera linen. Beyond a vibrant palette, his geometric concept also considers the architectural silhouette’s pockets and pleats.
All proceeds benefit the National Hispanic Foundation for the Arts.
“Cubavera Icons honors Hispanic culture and Cubavera’s products through the lens of art and fashion,” said Feldenkreis, of the decision to partner with the nonprofit for the first time. “They’re doing amazing work to foster Hispanic talent.”
PEI is entering new territory with a live auction but supporting Latin charities has been an indelible commitment. The company has sponsored the Miami International Film Festival and educational projects at design schools for students to explore mainstays of Latin culture.
“PEI and Cubavera are constantly looking to celebrate and empower Hispanic causes at the local and national level,” he said.
The festivities continue with an event at J.C. Penney in Queens, N.Y., on Oct. 27. Customers are invited to do a little shopping while sipping cafecitos. They can take home a Cuban coffee set, too, as a gift with purchase.