The spring installment of Wear LACMA, the collaboration between the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and Los Angeles-based fashion designers to create limited-edition product inspired by artworks in the museum’s permanent collection, launches May 21.
Korean American jeweler Anita Ko created 18-karat gold and pave diamond ear cuffs, midi rings and stud earrings inspired by bat motifs she noticed on a reading table and porcelain bottle from Korea’s Joseon period. (She chose bats because they are a Korean symbol of good fortune.)
Mexican American shoemaker George Esquivel designed burnished flat leather sandals and distressed suede summer desert boots, after being taken with Felipe Santiago Gutierrez’s 1876 painting “Portrait of a Woman with a Marigold,” depicting an indigenous woman wearing a huipil blouse.
And handbag guru Clare Vivier, whose brand marries French chic with L.A. minimalist cool, created several items, including totes, pouches and shirts inspired by an embroidered gentleman’s vest dating from the French Revolution, which could be a precursor to the modern-day slogan T-shirt.
Vivier, whose husband is French, has used French phrases before in her work and was particularly inspired by the irreverent text on the vest. One passage she picked up for a T-shirt reads, “L’habit ne fait pas le moine,” which translates roughly to, “The clothes don’t make the man.”
“It’s a little tongue in cheek, since you are putting the phrase on a piece of clothing. And it’s ironic since the original vest was such a laboriously made, hand-worked piece,” Vivier said.
Since October 2012, Wear LACMA has collaborated with a number of L.A. designers, with proceeds from sales benefiting the museum.
“It’s always refreshing and exciting to see what the designers look at,” says Katherine Ross, the program’s creator and the wife of museum director Michael Govan. “It’s remarkable how each one picks something that’s who they are.”