Art Interviews

Alice + Olivia: Art Meets Design

Alice + Olivia ‘Dina’ Pump (Online Only)

Walking into a presentation for Alice + Olivia during New York Fashion Week is much like entering a one-of-a-kind aesthetic experience. The imaginative world of Stacey Bendet envelops you, allowing the colorful textures and architectural shapes of her designs to converge into an installation of art. In celebration of Art Basel invading the shores and streets of Miami Beach, today through December 8, we asked the avid collector of culture to shed some light on the many artful objects of her affection.

THE THREAD: What first motivated you to begin building a collection of art?
STACEY BENDET: Art is really inspiration for me. I started casually collecting things when I was younger. Each year I’ll buy one or two pieces that are really special to me because of the artist, or because of the collaboration we’re doing, or just because I’m really inspired by their work. It’s a range of things. I have a table in my office by artist Liana Yaroslavsky, who creates beautiful, unique pieces from antique chandeliers. Also I collect, obviously, paintings and other things too, sculptures, all different kinds of stuff.

“Fishtank” by Nicola L., 2005

What was the first piece of art you ever bought?
STACEY: Oh god, I’m trying to even remember. Early on, I remember buying these Banksy prints, but this was before anyone knew who Banksy was. I was sort of obsessed with everything he was doing. I bought a couple of his signed prints. It was less about even what the art was and more about who he was as an artist.

At the time of my first Banksy purchase, my Alice + Olivia logos were kind of this clean white-and-black look with red writing. All of his pieces were kind of black and white with pops of red, and it reminded me a little bit of my aesthetic. In the years since, I’ve collected everything from Lola Montes Schnabel to Dustin Yellin to Julian Schnabel. Eric [Eisner], my husband, has some really interesting pieces too. One of his favorite pieces in our house is this carved fish tank by Nicola L. in the shape of a head.

I Art This: Graffiti artist David Choe teamed up with Stacey to create a spring ’14 capsule collection of dresses inspired by another of his creative outlets: watercolor painting. Last month, the pair launched the Kindness Project, a philanthropic effort to “spread love and positivity throughout the world.

With the year coming to a close, what exhibits stood out for you in 2013?
STACEY: The last exhibit that I was really in love with was Tom Wesselmann, A Summer Exhibition of Paintings and Works on Paper,” that Vladimir Roitfeld did. He is one of my favorite artists. [And last month we did an event with David Choe to celebrate our Kindness Project collaboration.] David is one of the most talented painters of our generation.

This watercolor by David Choe is from his latest exhibition, Snowman Monkey BBQ. Stacey has said that when she sees his work she immediately pictures dresses.

How do you define your art aesthetic?
STACEY: I love to collect female artists, but I also like to just collect things that are unique and interesting. I think one thing that sort of is common to everything is an interesting use of color, because color is so much a part of what inspires me in my work at Alice + Olivia.

Adorn your wardrobe with the artsy creations of Alice + Olivia.

Qianna Smith
Photos courtesy of Alice + Olivia
Mallane Stanbury for A+O
Fernando Colon at NYFW