Patricia Field Brings Her Sartorial Genius to A Dover Street Market Holiday Gift Shop

Text by Adam Lehrer

Patricia Field is best known to a certain generation of women as the coveted costume designer behind the looks of Carrie Bradshaw, but she means infinitely more to the convergence of fashion with downtown New York’s art world. Since the 1980s when she held exhibitions for the budding artists Keith Haring and Jean-Michel Basquiat at her East Village boutique, Field has been a champion of both New York grown artists and fashion designers. She has truly one of the most unique eyes in the world. “I look for the same thing in art that I look for in fashion,” says Field. “It’s chemical. I see it, I like it, and I go for it.”

It is that eye that is being celebrated at Dover Street Market with a Patricia Field-curated gift shop featuring one of a kind wearable art pieces by Field’s favorite artists and designers and a selection of accessories, jewelry, and apparel at a more accessible price point.

For the Dover Street Market installation, Field has selected designers from a pool of artists that she worked with in the ‘80s as well as contemporary artists that she believes owe a debt to the art movement of the ‘80s. Leading the charge is New York-based artist Scooter LaForge. LaForge has been designing and creating wearable art works for Field’s boutique for five years now, likening his work in garments to Robert Rauschenberg’s ‘Combines,’ in that he uses every material he can get his hands on to bring the garments into fruition. His prints have also been used by Antwerp 6 Belgian menswear designer Walter Van Bierendonck. “I always dreamed of doing a collaboration with Pat,” says LaForge. “I met Pat in a nightclub and sold her some shirts. Things took off from there.”

Other artists who will have garments at the DSM Christmas Gift shop include surrealist film animator Suzan Pitt, Underground designer Apostolos Mitropoulous, leftist fashion designer G-Lish, one-of-a-kind accessories designer Badacious, New York-based artist and conceptual fashion designer best known for her hat designs Heidi Lee, and designer and stylist David Dalrymple. All of these designers will offer their own takes on wearable art pieces all of which will be handmade and one-of-a-kind. “It’s conceptual couture,” says LaForge of wearable art’s difference with fashion. “As long as it wasn’t made in a factory and there is only one out there, it’s wearable art.”

While so many of us are drawn to garments based on the labels they carry, whether it be Raf Simons or Alexander McQueen, LaForge is struck by Field’s ability to connect with garments based on her own emotions as opposed to constructs created by brands. “She doesn’t care if it was made by Galliano or some kid in the street,” says LaForge. “She only looks at clothes, and if they speak to her she’ll love it.”

Field tapped interior designer Benjamin Noriega-Ortiz to design the space in which the garments will inhabit, seeing his aesthetic as a natural home for the LaForge-described “controlled chaos” of Field’s vision. “I find that Scooter and Benjamin are parallel in their senses of humor,” says Field. “There is a certain frivolity that is present in Benjamin’s work.”

There are a lot of creative minds at work in this installation. Never mind all the artists designing garments for the space, but of course DSM and Comme des Garcons head honcho Rei Kawakubo has final approval over every installation AND every garment that appears in Dover Street Market. But make no mistake: this installation is the brain trust of Patricia Field in every sense. “It’s all Pat Fields all the time,” says LaForge. “It’s all about her. I thought it was important to have the essence of Pat Fields in the pop-up shop. I thought it was important for people to know what she finds to be important and what she believes in right now. She’s like a modern day Peggy Guggenheim.”

Field has one of the most enviable creative careers New York has ever seen. Whether designing clothes for her own store or for movies and television or shining spotlight on her favorite artists and designers, she is always looking to expand her creative palette. The Dover Street Market Holiday Gift Shop is a new and exciting challenge. “The best way for me to continue being happy is to be creative,” says Field. “Subconsciously, I keep trying new things, and this keeps life exciting.”

The installation opens tonight, December 3rd. Dover Street Market New York is located at 160 Lexington Avenue, New York, NY 10016