Art & fashion at the Aldrich Museum
Took myself on an art date today (thank you, Julia Cameron) to see a talk on the connections between fashion and fine art at the Aldrich Museum in Ridgefield, CT.
As part of the Museum's 50th anniversary and celebration of founder Larry Aldrich, himself a veteran of the fashion industry, the panel featured designer Leo Narducci, Kate Irvin, Curator of Costumes and Textiles at Rhode Island School of Design, and Laleh Khorramian, painter and animator (more on her later).
I missed Kate Irvin's talk because I arrived late– I was literally waiting for a drain to unclog. (I know you've all been there…)
Mr. Narducci spoke about his apparel collections in the 1960s, his love of prints and innovative fabrics, his current work on staff at RISD and his new jewelry line. He explained that in the 60s, he felt that clothes were getting too expensive, and women wanted clothes that would travel well and be able to wash at home. He was driven to create clothing "that becomes part of your life," not just an evening gown or a jacket for work.
Laleh Khorramian spoke about her work as a trained painter and video animator, and her really interesting path to designing handpainted apparel. She described learning to sew as a child and having grown up sewing for herself and making mini collections, and the role of costume and persona in her fine art work. Her influences include 1970s futurism and cinema, including Terry Gilliam's work, Time Bandits, and Solaris.
Image via Laloon.
When a 3,600 year old tree burned down in the area of Florida where she grew up, (as she described it, "a tree I grew up with", girl after my own heart) Khorramian was inspired to paint an image of "the Senator" on a sheer jersey gown. She went on to open an atelier in Hudson, NY, Laloon, featuring her expanded line of handpainted dresses and bodysuits.
Dress from the new Year 1393 collection. Image via Laloon
I felt the discussion could have been better directed, but I realize that a discussion amongst creative people is a challenging beast to wrangle, and that discussion-wrangling is a skill that requires mastery.
I was very excited to have discovered Laleh Khorramian, and hope to make a trip to Hudson to visit her atelier. And I ended up chatting a bit with another Parsons alum (we're everywhere!) who had a remarkably similar path (from International Affairs in Washington DC to Parsons, years later, and not [yet] working in the fashion industry…) and the value of a t-shirt in explaining what fashion designers actually do.
This slideshow of work from the RISD MFA Textiles student exhibition.