“I feel like a pop star!” exclaimed Brazilian designer Humberto Campana, alongside brother Fernando at Galeria Melissa in Soho. He’s talking about the way the duo’s ten-year-strong collaboration with Brazilian eco-conscious jelly footwear line Melissa—which is a creative departure from their exploratory industrial design work—has impacted their status at home. “The shoes democratize our work,” said Humberto. “Everywhere I look in São Paolo, I see someone wearing my shoes.”
Last night, in addition to a retrospective installation, the latest Melissa Campana shoes were on view—not on feet, but on a hanging sculpture-turned-fluorescent light fixture of interwoven, cotton-candy pink zigzag flats. The brothers designed the installation especially to highlight the new collection, which they say is inspired by their work in furniture—a plastic interpretation of the tables they made for the opera house in São Paolo, specifically—and charged by their commitment to using recovered materials. “[Melissa] is very open to our demands. We ask to recycle the maximum amount of PVC, and we achieved 40 percent of recycled PVC,” explained Fernando. “We’re trying to get more.”
Guest of honor Marina Abramovic, along with the likes of Giovanna Battaglia, Sebastian Errazuriz, and Telfar Clemons, was on hand to support the project. “What I love is this concept of recycling materials. It can be so useful for different designers,” said Abramovic, fresh from three hours spent training for her upcoming show at Serpentine Gallery. “Even Zaha Hadid designed shoes [for Melissa], as did many other artists and creators,” she added. No doubt, the Campana brothers are in good company.
Priced from $90, the latest Melissa Campana collection is available now at ShopMelissa.com.
It’s been quite a week for Grey Area: The buzzy artist-edition site launched a new collection of products, “Americana,” on election night, and has sold more than 1,500 of Sebastian Errazuriz’s inspired “MANHATTAN BLACKOUT” and “I STILL LOVE NY” T-shirts since last weekend, with profits going to Hurricane Sandy relief.
On top of that, cofounders Manish Vora and Kyle DeWoody unveiled a new batch of artist-made goods created in tandem with the designers at Helmut Lang last night at the brand’s Mercer Street shop.
Artists include Cat Stevens—”not that Cat Stevens,” Vora clarified—and Michelle Lopez, and the latest partnership has resulted in a glossy version of Shelter Serra’s rubber Rolex-inspired bracelet, which has become a bit of a calling card for the site and artist alike.
Serra revealed at the intimate dinner that followed at La Esquina—and drew the likes of bloggers Elin Kling and Leandra Medine, and Hilary Rhoda, fresh off the Victoria’s Secret runway the night before—that early on he’d been approached by Amazon.com and turned them down.
He’s been intrigued by what Helmut Lang CEO Andrew Rosen, who cohosted the dinner, referred to in a toast as “the Grey Area thing.” He wasn’t the first, and no doubt won’t be the last.