August 27 2014

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17 posts tagged "Victoria Bartlett"

At Victoria Bartlett, Skin Is In


Fans of VPL won’t be surprised to hear that designer Victoria Bartlett is obsessed with anatomy—VPL is short for Visible Panty Line, after all. But her fixation on the body goes beyond her signature maxi dresses with the bra-cup tops. Tomorrow night, Bartlett is hosting an opening for an exhibition at her Mercer Street store in Soho that she curated with Renee Vara, in which she invited 15 artists to submit work based on the theme (and shown under the title) Second Skin. Philip-Lorca diCorcia, Jack Pierson, Collier Schorr, and Mark Borthwick are among the participants. Hrafnhildur Arnardottir (a.k.a. Shoplifter) is doing a performance in the shop window. All the work except hers will be for sale. “It could be literal, or it could be interpretive,” Bartlett says of the submissions. “It’s also about what’s underneath, getting under your skin, annoyance—all those different points are represented.” Ugo Rondinone’s wax and earth pigments sculpture, nude (xxxxxxxx) (pictured), could almost double as a mannequin. You won’t find any clothes hanging from it before or after the opening—the show will be up for two months—but more than likely his piece and the others will influence Bartlett’s own work. The crossover of media “keeps me ticking,” she says. “It’s fodder for my brain.”

Second Skin opens tomorrow at VPL, 5 Mercer St., NYC.

Photo: Courtesy of Gladstone Gallery, New York and Brussels and INPUT Journal/ Vara Fine Arts

Knit Wit


Lindsay Degen is not your average fashion girl. The knitwear designer, who presented her first full collection yesterday (she showed a small lingerie capsule last NYFW), started out making large-scale knit art installations while studying at Rhode Island School of Design, then moved on to do more wearable pieces after various collaborations and encouragement from industry veterans like VPL‘s Victoria Bartlett. But a quick glance at Degen’s latest offerings reassures that she has in no way compromised her avant-garde point of view. Degen dubbed this season Ask Tell to honor the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell—she is professedly “all about celebrating individuality and being open.”

In keeping with the military theme, Degen did her own take on WWI battleship “dazzle” camouflage, taking her color palette from Communist propaganda posters. The result was a lineup that carried over cheeky items from Spring, like leggings with two well-placed cutouts on the bum and knit glove necklaces. But there were also more realistic items this time around, like cargo-inspired pants slashed at the knees (the designer was sporting them) and an abundance of sweater crop tops. Never one to take herself too seriously, Degen kept things playful with hyper-pigmented pastel “war paint” makeup and super-chunky platform sneakers that she embellished with yarn.

Photo: Courtesy of Degen

Pleather Principle


“Vegan. Vegan. Leather. Vegan. Leather. Leather.” That was Victoria Bartlett last night after dinner, playing show-and-tell over a small display of her Spring 2012 VPL shoes set up in the corner at Gemma’s Wine Room. However, it was the animal product-free portion of the collection that served as the reason for this happy and homey little get-together for friends like co-host Julie Gilhart, Hannelore Knuts, and dashing Last Magazine duo Magnus Berger and Tenzin Wild.

The designer has been a fur-free, vegetarian animal lover for almost three decades—despite her very English roots. “Oh, I grew up with my mum serving me liver, cow’s tongue, rabbit. You name it,” she said. (Though high fashion’s other purveyor of vegan accessories Stella McCartney is also English, and Bartlett noted that former McCartney BFF and fellow Brit Phoebe Philo was also vegan back in the day.)

Bartlett had long since made her peace with leather as a by-product but was spurred on by socialite and fashionable free spirit Arden Wohl to toss some non-leather options into the mix, and into an apparent market void. “Arden basically told me there’s not that much fashion stuff out there except for Stella,” said Bartlett. For Spring, Wohl and other conscious shoppers can choose between VPL’s strappy low wedges in faux leather—good solid Italian-made stuff that took Bartlett a year to find—in colors like putty, buff, and forest, and bright neoprene sandals with zips up the back.

This vegan venture is just a first phase. In the offing for VPL are fake leather bags and even coats. But don’t expect Bartlett to be flogging them as a marketing gimmick. The mix of cruelty-free and vero cuoio isn’t strict and neither is she. “It can be a selling point for people who want it,” she said. “But otherwise, it’s just fashion.”

Photo: Courtesy of VPL

At VPL, Models Fit To Be Tied


Artist Orly Genger and VPL designer Victoria Bartlett have been collaborating for a while now: Genger, in conjunction with Jaclyn Mayer, creates much of the jewelry that Bartlett uses in her fashion show. Jewelry-wise, some of those pieces have been pretty large—nearly breastplate size, say. But that’s nothing compared to what Bartlett and Genger have in store now. This evening, the VPL shop opens Squat, a site-specific installation of Genger’s trademark knotted and painted rope, with two models woven into the design. “It’s literally miles of rope,” Bartlett says. “It’s like the girls are drowning in it.” This evening’s event is hosted by Clarissa Dalrymple, Yvonne Force Villareal, Rachel Chandler, and Arden Wohl, and kicks off at 7 p.m., when Genger will nestle the models into rope she’s pre-knotted up to that point. Bartlett notes that, aside from offering the space, the inclusion of the models in the installation represents VPL’s contribution to the concept of the piece. “I’m obsessed with the body; that’s been a theme for me all along,” she points out. “This is just another way of expressing that.”

Photos: Courtesy of Orly Genger and VPL

VPL’s First Store To Bow This Week


Soho has been a shopping destination for so long, it hardly seems worth remarking that a new corner of the neighborhood has opened its arms to fashion. Nevertheless, something does seem to be afoot on the nabe’s downtown edge. Agnès B. is due to open soon on Howard Street. Just around the block on Grand Street, Alexander Wang is taking over the old Yohji space. And now Victoria Bartlett has opened her first-ever VPL store at the junction of Mercer and Howard. “So-Soho,” Bartlett suggests visitors call the area, tongue planted gently in cheek. There’s certainly nothing mediocre about her boutique, which she’s kitted out with vintage gym gear (gymnastic rings, a pommel horse, etc.) and filled with clothes from her main line and VPL Two collections, as well as a selection of the collaborative jewelry she shows on the VPL runway. “I didn’t want to do either the cliché white-on-white fashion store, or the filled-to-bursting boutique,” Bartlett said. “I just wanted the space to feel really VPL, an agglomeration of all my influences.” To wit, Bauhaus-inspired color-blocking here (reminiscent of her signature color-blocked underthings), and a model of a human spine there (homage to Bartlett’s fascination with human anatomy). Bartlett will be celebrating the store opening with a party this Thursday, by which point, the Mark Borthwick portraits of people wearing VPL will be up on the walls. “Lo-so? Do-so?” Bartlett continued, still brainstorming. “Eh,” she said, finally. “Just call it Soho.”

VPL opens Friday at 5 Mercer St., NYC, (646) 912-6142,

Photos: Timo Kuhn