The Los Angeles County Museum of Art, known as LACMA, has chosen three more L.A.-based designers for its latest Wear LACMA Collection: Kendall Conrad, Lena Wald and Outerknown. An initiative of the museum’s Director’s Circle, Wear LACMA is an art and fashion project featuring limited-edition pieces created by local designers and inspired by the museum’s permanent collection and exhibitions.
“One of the great things about Los Angeles is that there are so many creative people here in the city. With Wear LACMA, we love partnering with Los Angeles based-designers for their unique perspectives and diverse backgrounds. The way these designers have been inspired by the museum’s collection allows us to look closer at these works and appreciate them in a different way,” said Katherine Ross, founder of Wear LACMA. “This season’s selections from Kendall Conrad, Outerknown and Lena Wald perfectly reflect the original mission of the Wear LACMA project and spotlight incredible works of art.”
Conrad created two leather goods and a jewelry item inspired by an ancient handled weight from Afghanistan that depicts primitive scorpions surrounding a fruit bearing palm tree. “This artwork first caught my eye because it was in the shape of a bag, but the carved image is what I fell in love with. The natural scene in 300 BCE Bactria [located between the Hindu Kush mountain range and the Amu Darya River] evokes an ancient time, when the scorpion was the symbol of Ishkhara, the Goddess of Love. I realized that this indigenous tableau would translate well as a hand-stitched interpretation on leather and as a brass pendant eliciting the talismanic scorpion,” she said.
Wald created a suite of jewelry inspired by two works by Ernst Ludwig Kirchner: the 1914 painting “Two Nudes in a Room” and a woodcut block print circa 1919-23. Kirchner was one of the founders of German Expressionism and one of the most original printmakers of the 20th century.
Said Wald, “I am a native Angeleno and LACMA has always been a part of my landscape. Since much of my work is figural, I was drawn to two Kirchner objects, the Untitled print and ‘Two Nudes in a Room,’ a painting with incredibly stunning colors. I love the idea of painting/enameling the jewelry for this Wear LACMA collection in the rich colors reminiscent of these works.”
Outerknown was inspired by the delicate designs on a Syrian tile from 1600, a 19th-century botanical photograph, and a textile from the Hawaiian Islands made from a mulberry plant. The men’s brand designed Wear LACMA’s first men’s wear pieces including T-shirts and a special pant.
“Outerknown’s creativity is an ongoing collaboration with people who share our responsible values and want to take care of the planet. We at Outerknown jumped at the opportunity to reference LACMA’s permanent collection to bring style and art together, and quickly found connections between ancient Hawaiian barkcloth textiles and botanical images and our surfing and environmental roots,” said John Moore, cofounder and creative director of Outerknown.
Retail prices start at $48 for an Outerknown T-shirt and go up to $925 for a Kendall Conrad shoulder bag. The 2017 Wear LACMA items will be sold at the LACMA Store and the redesigned thelacmastore.org beginning June 7, with all proceeds benefiting the museum.