September 1 2014

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Mauricio And Roger Padilha Talk Sprouse


When he died of lung cancer not quite five years ago, Stephen Sprouse was in the midst of one of his many comebacks. Widely credited as the designer who made street style soigné, Sprouse had spent much of the nineties wandering in and out of the fashion fold: Several times, he’d relaunched his eponymous label, only to shutter each business and return to making art. But the new millennium found Sprouse revolutionizing the fashion industry all over again. His collaboration with Louis Vuitton was a phenomenon. At Marc Jacobs’ behest, Sprouse scrawled graffiti all over the brand’s iconic monogram bags, and years later, even Canal Street knockoffs proved hard to come by. Then Sprouse debuted AmericaLand, his collection for Target. The first collaboration between a luxury designer and a discount chain, AmericaLand established a fast-fashion template still being followed today. Taken together, Sprouse’s work for Target and his work with Louis Vuitton capture his disrespect for the traditional standoff between high and low, and after seeding their fusion years earlier, the man had met his moment, yet again. And yet again, Sprouse’s moment was followed by a fall. But the time has come for another comeback. Last Friday, Deitch Projects in Soho opened the show Stephen Sprouse: Rock on Mars, an overview of Sprouse’s work as an artist. That same day, a limited-edition Stephen Sprouse for Louis Vuitton collection launched at Louis Vuitton stores worldwide. And tomorrow night, Sprouse muses Debbie Harry and Teri Toye host a celebration of the new book Stephen Sprouse, published by Rizzoli and written and compiled by MAO PR impresarios Roger and Mauricio Padilha. Harry and Toye assisted the Padilhas with the book. Jacobs chipped in, too, as did Sprouse’s buddy Tama Janowitz and his former neighbor,’s Candy Pratts Price. But the project’s guardian angel was Sprouse’s mother, Joanne Sprouse, who proposed the book to the Padilhas and allowed the brothers exclusive and unfettered access to her son’s archives. Here, Roger and Mauricio Padilha talk to about their comprehensive and eye-popping new book—and why you should avoid your idols.

You guys are obviously Sprouse acolytes. You have an enviable collection of his designs and published a tribute to him in Mao Mag after his death that led to the making of this book. How did you become fans?

Roger Padilha: I can be really exact about that, actually. In 1984, Stephen put on a runway show at the club the Ritz, in the East Village. It was such a huge deal that a clip aired on the nightly news. I was 12 at the time and Mauricio was 15, but we were already huge fans of Debbie Harry and Andy Warhol and Keith Haring, and we were already into fashion. Stephen’s show put all that together. We were totally fixated. And because we were bad kids, as well as precocious, we’d take our parents’ credit cards and jump on the train from Long Island and shop for his stuff at Bloomingdale’s and Charivari.

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