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July 25 2014

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Damien Hirst’s Art Collection—Now In Dress Form

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The family that rents together, sticks together. So Maia Norman borrowed her partner Damien Hirst’s bookstore/gallery, The Other Criteria, on London’s New Bond Street, emptied it out and, voilà, an instant pop-up for her own clothing line, Mother of Pearl. “Business is booming in every corner of the world, Colette and others like that can’t get enough of us, but we don’t have a London stockist—ironic, isn’t it?” Norman deadpanned. “This was the perfect way to bring the collection to the city, see what the public wants and what they respond to.”

If last night’s opening cocktail was any indication, they’re responding quite well. An A-list crowd came out to celebrate at the shop (wrapped in vinyl for the occasion), including co-host Hirst (in a suit, no less), the Clash’s Paul Simonon, Moda Operandi’s Yasmin Sewell, Mary Charteris (above right), and model Sara Blomqvist (above left, with Norman, center, all in Mother of Pearl). Guest DJ and good buddy Jarvis Cocker manned the decks. Even Norman’s collaborator of the season, reclusive artist Jim Lambie, showed up. (“Actually,” Norman says, “he is not as reclusive as he is shy.”) “It stimulates in a different way,” Lambie said of seeing his prints—wildflowers, duct tape, and, no joke, eyeballs—on fabrics like nappa leather and washable silk, rather than on gallery walls. “It is much more evocative because it places itself directly onto the body. It becomes the body in many ways; it reinterprets our understanding of the body. It’s shape, movement, and overall sex appeal.”

Artistry, for obvious reasons, is part of Mother of Pearl’s DNA, but equally important is freedom of movement. “The clothes have to be easy,” says Norman, famed for her love of danger sports, like motocross, riding, and boarding. (Earlier in the week she was surfing in Devon with her new toy: a heated wetsuit.) “I need things to be unrestricted as I am always on the move, but the clothes have to be interesting as well. That’s why Jim Lambie was an easy choice for us. Damien has been collecting him for years, and he was part of our circle, so to speak. I had been loving his works for years now, seeing it in galleries, and then the next thing was just to convince him to do it. I think the results really excited him.”

Speaking of exciting: good to know whom Damien Hirst is collecting. And now on New Bond Street, a Lambie can be yours—at a fraction of the price.

Photo: Courtesy of Mother of Pearl

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