21 June 2021

When socialite-turned-designer Lilly Pulitzer’s simple shift dresses hit the fashion scene in the early 1960s, their eye-catching, whimsical prints made them instantly recognizable. Yet few people know that most of those prints were designed by Key West artist Suzie Zuzek (Agnes Helen Zuzek de Poo, American, 1920–2011). Zuzek was a staff designer for Key West Hand Print Fabrics, where Pulitzer sourced most of her fabrics—and all of her prints—between 1962 and 1985, the period during which Pulitzer owned and oversaw the company that bears her name. Zuzek’s prolific imagination fueled Pulitzer’s runaway success. The unexpected combination of classic sportswear styling with playful, eclectic patterns defined a uniquely American style, often spotted on fashion icons such as First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy.

Suzie Zuzek for Lilly Pulitzer: The Prints That Made the Fashion Brand is the first museum exhibition to reveal the nature and scope of Zuzek’s artistic contribution to the quintessential Pulitzer style. Included in the exhibition are more than 35 original watercolor and gouache design drawings by Zuzek, alongside finished screen-printed textiles and some of the fashions that made them famous. The works on view include ten drawings recently acquired for the museum’s collection through a gift from the Key West Hand Print Fabrics archive, now privately owned.

Zuzek’s designs showcase her creative treatment of subjects ranging from mythical creatures to cosmology to the flora and fauna of the Florida Keys. Her palette was typically naturalistic, employing both the brilliant hues of the tropical flowers and the subtle browns, ochres, and grays used in her renderings of animals. When used as fabrics for the the Pulitzer collections, Zuzek’s designs were printed in the beyond-bright, vivid colors the brand is famous for. The exhibition will demonstrate the process of translating an artist’s rendering to fabric, and ultimately fashion, through silkscreen printing.

WHEN: Now through Sunday, January 2, 2022

WHERE: Cooper Hewitt Museum
2 East 91st Street
New York, NY 10128

ADMISSION: Free. Click here to reserve your free ticket.

Posted by Staff Writer at 06:34 AM
Events , Exhibitions and Industry Events , Today's Sales |

4 June 2021

On How Little Island Has Become a Controversial Topic

A media mogul and his fashion designer wife gifted the city of New York a 260 million dollar park floating on the Hudson River. How the city received the gift says a lot about the current New York State of mind.

Diane von Furstenberg and Barry Diller are behind Little Island, the 2.4-acre public park designed by Thomas Heatherwick on the site of the formerly derelict Pier 55.

With an amphitheater, observation sites, eating area and a landscape design that incorporates 270 varieties of grasses, perennials, vines and bulbs, the place is described as charming, even by its detractors.

In The Wall Street Journal article “How Barry Diller and Diane von Furstenberg Built NYC’s Little Island” you learn that the family foundation gave $260 million to build Little Island and has committed another $120 million over the next 10 years for maintenance. You also learn about the politics of building a public park, and some difficulties they faced building it.

In the Washington Post “Seeing the wrong kind of green In New York City’s Little Island” you hear a different opinion, one that builds on the idea of rampant inequality and sees the gift as a tax deduction and a showy form of philanthropy.

Whatever side you are on, enjoy the place and try to step out of this never ending cycle of debates.

Image credit: CHOONGKY via Shutterstock

Posted by Mirela Gluck at 08:13 AM
The City |

4 June 2021

Why the Word Crypto Is Creeping Into Fashion – Part I

Crypto is creeping into fashion. If you don’t know this, you should. Bitcoin was created in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis and it has been defined as: a protocol, a currency, a payment system, a technology platform, or an open source software.

Venture Capitalists like Mark Andreessen understood the technology quickly and were its early adopters, but regular investors were slow to warm up to it.

Bitcoin’s high volatility, large number of scams, and reputation for being the preferred currency for criminal activity did not help the adoption process. Despite its ups and downs, its market capitalization continued to climb and recently reached one trillion dollars.

As of today, investing in it is still very risky and determining the exchange rate is almost impossible. Governments don’t back it up and it has no fundamental value. An interesting theory states that what matters in determining the exchange rate is the payment transaction volume and its continuity:

“Bitcoin exchange rate can be fully determined by two market fundamentals: the steady state transaction volume of Bitcoin when used for payments, and the evolution of beliefs about the likelihood that the technology survives”.

With all the problems Bitcoin has faced in its short existence the question remains: Bitcoin, fad or future? It looks like the answer depends exclusively on whether there are reasons for it to exist.

In the next installment of this article we will try to understand whether crypto fashion, NFTs, and crypto fashion shows have intrinsic value or are just serving as Bitcoin’s much-needed raison d’être.

Image credit: xpoint via iStock by Getty Images

Posted by Mirela Gluck at 01:54 AM
A FASHION , Business , Fashion: Trends, Style, and Business |

1 June 2021

For anyone who doesn’t know Halston’s story: poor Iowa-born boy becomes milliner to Jackie O., transitions to legendary fashion designer, conquers NYC, revolutionizes luxury fashion.  One of the first to understand and use the extraordinary influence of celebrities he develops friendships with Liza Minelli, Elsa Peretti and Andy Warhol.

A symbol of the extravagance of the 70’s and 80’s, his ascension is cut short by multiple excesses, bad business decisions and questionable taste in men. A Faustian deal offers money but dilutes his brand. Another business deal leads to the loss of the asset that he valued the most: his name. He dies young of AIDS without ever regaining the rights to use his name.

While Halston asks himself “Am I a businessman or an artist” Ryan Murphy, the producer seems to have decided that neither options were very important for the designer and presents him mainly as a 70’s gay icon. Roy Halston Frowich’s family called the show an “inaccurate, fictionalized account” of the designer’s life.

For fashion lovers this show is a joy and a disappointment.  Watching Ewan McGregor chain smoking, wearing those stylish black turtlenecks as he drapes models is such a powerful image I will forever associate it with bias cut long dresses. But fashion is rather atmospheric and not the main theme of the show, which is a shame, because Halston’s deceptively simple dresses were after all the quintessence of the flamboyant 70’s.

Fashion lovers will particularly appreciate the episode named Battle of Versaille, the fundraising event that had American designers compete against French counterparts. The event gave American fashion an international recognition and transformed the industry forever.

Halston, the show, is also a cautionary tale for creative people who consider bringing in investors. “Am I a businessman or an artist” will be asked again and again by designers slowly sacrificing creative control for financial independence.

Yes, it’s not a great show, the image is beautiful but the dialogue is predictable and the peaceful “walk into the sunset” doesn’t quite match such a turbulent life. And yet, we’ll watch it, probably more than once, because Halston story is not unique to him.

Image credit: “Halston & Models 1977” by Sacheverelle is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Posted by Mirela Gluck at 02:14 PM
A FASHION , The City |

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