“Fashion wasn’t what you wore someplace anymore; it was the whole reason for going.” —American artist Andy Warhol, who died on this day in 1987.
For his funeral, Warhol was buried in a simple, black, cashmere Stephen Sprouse suit. The artist and fashion designer (along with Jean-Michel Basquiat and Keith Haring) collaborated on a few pieces that featured Warhol’s camouflage designs and portraits printed on clothing, though the collection debuted after Warhol’s death. To read more fabulous Fashion Statements, click here. To read about Stephen Sprouse’s very first fashion show, read the Story Behind the Style. Read More »
I remember working one night in a tavern during the mid-1990s, a place where the patrons coaxed an endless soundtrack of grunge and punk from the jukebox, when someone dropped a quarter in for Blondie’s “Heart of Glass.” Almost immediately, the mood across the room shifted, with the biker dudes singing along and sort of both mock dancing and actually dancing, and one of the regulars leaned across the bar and posed this rhetorical question: “What kind of sick f— wouldn’t like this song?” What kind indeed. Released on this day in 1979, “Heart of Glass” is a dreamy pop hit that at the very least is pleasing to anyone sane and addictive to those who love to dance. And the video delivered so much more: a beautiful blonde front woman whose delivery matched her persona: Detached, willful, feminine, feminist, bored, flirtatious and standoffish. And the style! Was she disco, New Wave, rock or punk? Was she an uptown princess or downtown cokehead? Her outfit—a scrap of a dress paired with clear plastic heels—hints at posh but also feels like a one-off. The dichotomies made Blondie lead singer Debbie Harry endlessly alluring and enigmatic. We didn’t know it at the time, but through “Heart of Glass,” Harry was introducing the world to fashion designer Stephen Sprouse, Read More »
It wasn’t like they didn’t already know him. Before presenting his first formal fashion show on this day in 1983, Stephen Sprouse was well known in East Village circles for creating Debbie Harry’s signature punk look—including the black-on-bleach hairstyle and asymmetrical slip of a dress in Blondie’s breakthrough “Heart of Glass” video—and had worked as an assistant for both Halston and Bill Blass. In fact, the collection presented in his silver-painted showroom on West 57th street wasn’t technically his first. The previous April, the 29-year-old designer presented his first full collection—one that included cashmere menswear—but almost nobody saw it. That thinly attended show was mostly seen by his musician and artist friends, but buyers at Bergdorf and Henri Bendel took a chance and ordered a few pieces from the collection anyway. Those simple cashmere dresses, hand-painted silk tunics, graffiti-covered leather jackets and wrap skirts covered in sequins had brief lives on the racks, despite costing upwards of $1,000 and more. By the time his December show rolled around, the fashion world was taking notice. Sprouse had become the designer everyone wanted a little piece of, and so this presentation—one that most of the fashion press referred to as his “first”—was packed shoulder-to-shoulder with competitive buyers, socialites and fashion editors, all nearly giddy in anticipation of what the “rock star” designer would show them. Read More »
Born on September 12:
Rose Marie Reid, American swimsuit designer; 1906
Cornel Lucas, British photographer; 1920
Emmanuelle Khanh, French fashion designer; 1937
Stephen Sprouse, American fashion designer; 1953
Emina Cunmulaj, Albanian-American model; 1984
Anna Jagodzinska, Polish model; 1987
Happy birthday, beautiful! It is well known in swami circles that people born on this day are somewhat more than ambitious than the average Virgo—and that’s saying a lot, because Virgos generally set the bar for how much can be crammed into a work-and-play day for the rest of us slackers on the Zodiac. I mean, look at all of the beautiful and successful people working in fashion who were born on this day: September 12′ers are clearly destined for style greatness! And you and I both know that you’ve always known you were destined to a live a life less ordinary, even if that means sacrificing the big bucks to realize your artistic goals. When I was determining your future over the next 12 months, I thought about how Read More »
“What I’d like is somebody to come in and figure out the business end for me. I learn every day, but business is design, not business.”
—Stephen Sprouse (1953–2004), in his first New York Times interview on June 21, 1983. Just two years later the same paper posted a classified ad announcing the auction of Sprouse’s business following its bankruptcy, to be held on this day in 1985. “Sell Wednesday, July 31, 1985 at 10:30 a.m. Large exclusive current stock of internatilly well known designer of women’s apparel,” the ad read, “Large quantity exceptionally fine piece goods wholesaling from $5 to $90 a yard. Office furniture/telephone system.” To read more fabulous Fashion Statements, click here.