Alice + Olivia Fashion Week Display Is the Chelsea Hotel of a New Era
A drawing of the installment and more about the project.
Artists design rooms and inspire clothes in an ode to New York City’s notorious creative commune
Before downtown lofts, there was the Chelsea Hotel. Since opening its doors in the 1880s, the landmark 12-story building—one of the city’s first cooperatives—has been, arguably, New York City’s most notorious creative commune. From Andy Warhol to poet Rene Ricard, artists of all media graced its halls and created in its rooms. (And yes, it was also the site of that Sid Vicious murder.) Today, the Chelsea Hotel no longer allows long-term stays, but its bohemian whims left a lasting impression on fashion designer Stacey Bendet, so much so that her Alice + Olivia Spring 2018 New York Fashion Week presentation is staged as an interactive, contemporary version. On September 12, several up-and-coming female artists will create “rooms” in the Skylight Clarkson to house the spring looks tailored by Bendet.
Rendering of the sitting room with artwork by Jemima Kirke and Susie Lopez. The Angelica Hicks–designed bathroom space is adjacent.
The motivation behind her inspiration this season, admits the designer, was a little bit of nostalgia. “I was flooded with memories of one of my first photo shoots, which Mick Rock shot in the hotel,” she said. “And I began to think of who would live there today.” In Bendet’s vision, those residents were young female artists: Francesca DiMattio, Angelica Hicks, Jemima Kirke, Susie Lopez, Lola Schnabel (who actually lived in the original Chelsea Hotel for a decade), Lucy Sparrow, Scout and Tallulah Willis, and Blair Z. Her choices in creative collaboration set out to correct what she sees as a larger art world problem: “I feel like female artists are hugely undervalued,” she explained. “I asked multiple people to name three living female artists with name recognition, and no one could do it.” Wanting to showcase talents she feels are underrepresented in today’s art world, the designer selected the group of women based on their merits—and previous working relationships.
Among a few original pieces of Chelsea Hotel furniture, the artists were given full license to design as inspired, and their work, in turn, influenced Bendet’s collection. For her space, illustrator Hicks designed a wallpaper based on the female form—her nipple-coconut palm print is now an Alice + Olivia printed blouse and sweater. Schnabel’s floral pattern (“not so many petals as bells”) is also incorporated as a print, and her draped statue takes a cue from ancient Greek sculpture but, amusingly, wears a sculpted version of Bendet signature sunglasses. Sparrow transformed the kitchen into a felt-covered world where Scout Willis will be singing live. The presentation promises as much artistic activity as an apartment in the co-op. “That space can never be fully reproduced,” said former resident Schnabel, who lived in the building’s penthouse and was a neighbor to Rene Ricard. “But Stacey has so much empathy. She emulated the jewel-box feeling.”
Source: Architectural Digest