Andrew Richardson: Downtown and Dirty-------
Sex and streetwear aren’t the most obvious bedfellows, but editor, stylist, and all-around provocateur Andrew Richardson has united them in his new store, Richardson. “I don’t know if there is a logical connection between sex and streetwear, but I always thought that streetwear was sexy and cool,” he mused between puffs on a cigarette. “There’s always an attitude, and I think that’s sexy—sexy confidence.” That may be so, but his shop, which opens this Friday at 325 Broome Street in New York, sells swag that’s arguably more perverse than confidence-boosting hoodies.
Best known for his cerebral, self-titled sex magazine, also called Richardson, Andrew is well versed in the streetwear subculture—he’s even done a bevy of projects with cult label (or, as some would argue, lifestyle) Supreme. In his store, Andrew presents his liberated take on sex and bondage via clever T-shirts, bomber jackets, swim trunks, caps, and towels—many of which were created in collaboration with such artists as Christopher Wool, Bjarne Melgaard, and Aaron Bondaroff. Some highlights include a melting snowman shirt by Nate Lowman; a tee printed with a car that reads “Blow Jobs”; totes scribed with the store’s ethos, “Work hard, play nice, communicate”; and a sweatsuit by artist Mark Gonzales. Embellished with images of lady parts and a cowboy flaunting his impressive member, the latter is guaranteed to inspire stares.
The shop goes beyond threads, though. For instance, good pal Olympia Le-Tan designed a signature patch for Richardson’s club car jacket—more intriguing, though, is her capsule of erotic minaudières (think bags embroidered with busty femmes and titles like Fanny Hill, Cutter Girl, Carnal Cargo, or Sweet and 20.) Above the clutches’ case hang drawings by Japanese artist Hauro Namaikawa that depict couples in compromising, albeit comical, positions. And, across the room, shelves are lined with an A-to-Z collection of erotic tomes, which was curated by Idea Books, London. Richardson is, of course, on sale, too. “There are going to be guys who are my age who are going to come in and spend $1,800 on an original drawing, and I think we’ll have 25-year-old skaters who want to wear fucked-up T-shirts to scare their parents,” said Andrew of his clientele. “There’ll be a range.”
When the editor—whose résumé, it should be noted, includes working on Madonna’s Sex book, as well as shoots with heavyweights like Terry Richardson, Steven Meisel, and Ellen von Unwerth—was asked about the thinking behind his sex-themed products, he told us, “I was always into that idea of idolizing women through sexual provocation…and I’m trying to find that fine line between palatability and provocation. If you’re too provocative, you end the debate.” Ultimately, his patrons will be the ones to decide whether he’s found that balance; however, no matter how explicit or ridiculous Richardson’s offerings may be, everything is done with a wink, a smile, and a streetwise attitude. And somehow, that makes it seem all the sexier.