ABOUT WHAT MEMORY IS MADE OF
Discarded garments reflect our history, becoming tangible material memories of times past, love lost or found, disappointments endured or victories won. In remembering the clothes we once loved, these lost objects of desire could perhaps be read as a map to our past, uprooted from fashion’s frenzied logic of seasons and collections.
In this vein, the Vestoj Storytelling Salon brings together a handful of people who have shaped the New York fashion scene over the past five decades. For one day, Pat Cleveland, Glenn O’Brien, Mary McFadden, Andre Walker, Joan Juliet Buck and Dapper Dan will be telling stories, all linked through their common narrative based on the intersection of our clothing and our past. Aiming to remove the barriers between storyteller and audience, the Vestoj Storytelling Salon allows the response of the listeners to influence and inform the ebb and flow of the stories themselves, effectively turning the listeners into co-creators of each story as it's being experienced.
Reflecting on how grander social and cultural narratives impact the lives of individuals, these stories thus become the material memories that ensure that the past is always carried with us into the future. Each story is here momentarily resurrected as textile memento mori – a tactile, ever-present reminder of a culture in perpetual flux. At the same time these stories provide a comforting aide-memoire, reminding us of our own transience and reassuring us that, to paraphrase Victor Hugo, history is merely an echo of the past in the future: a reflex from the future in the past.
The Journal of Sartorial Matters
Vestoj is a cross-disciplinary platform for critical thinking on fashion. To date, it includes an annual journal, an online site and regular Vestoj Salons, often themed around topics such as ‘material memories’, ‘shame’, ‘power’ and ‘time’. Each Vestoj project is a reflection and interpretation of current contemporary thinking and practice around ideas of fashion and its contribution to society.
Anja Aronowsky Cronberg
Anja Aronowsky Cronberg holds a BA in Fine Art from Central Saint Martins and an MA in History of Design from the Royal College of Art. She founded Vestoj - The Journal of Sartorial Matters in 2009 and is today publishing under the patronage of London College of Fashion, where she also works as a Senior Research Fellow in Fashion Theory and Practice.
MoMA PS1 is one of the oldest and largest nonprofit contemporary art institutions in the United States. An exhibition space rather than a collecting institution, MoMA PS1 devotes its energy and resources to displaying the most experimental art in the world. A catalyst and an advocate for new ideas, discourses, and trends in contemporary art, MoMA PS1 actively pursues emerging artists, new genres, and adventurous new work by recognised artists in an effort to support innovation in contemporary art. MoMA PS1 achieves this mission by presenting its diverse program to a broad audience in a unique and welcoming environment in which visitors can discover and explore the work of contemporary artists. Exhibitions at MoMA PS1 include artists' retrospectives, site- specific installations, historical surveys, arts from across the United States and the world, and a full schedule of music and performance programming.
Sunday Sessions is a weekly presentation of performance, moving images, dance, music, and discursive programs. Its mission is to embrace live arts as an integral aspect of contemporary practice and ask how art forms, which unfold in the here and now, produce specific ways of thinking and useful means to engage with the broader world. Every Sunday different artists, curators, thinkers and a range of other cultural agents are invited to share their latest projects and ideas with the MoMA PS1 audience.
Candy Pratts Price, editor
Candy was once called the ‘Queen of the Internet’, and after over a decade at the helm of Style.com followed by Vogue.com, this is a fitting moniker. In her long career in the business, she has gone from shopgirl at Charles Jourdan to working closely with all from Wintour to Ralph Lauren, Guy Bourdin, Manolo Blahnik and Mario Testino. She has been immortalised in ‘The September Issue’, as the world’s first fashion editor avatar and by the CFDA who awarded her the Eugenia Sheppard Award in 2008.
Patricia Field, costume designer
Pat became a household name as the costume designer of Sex and the City. A native New Yorker, her downtown boutique Patricia Field has catered to club kids and eccentrics since 1966, and Pat herself has through her work on the big and small screen spawned many a trend – from Carrie Bradshaw’s tutu and ‘Carrie’ necklace, to Ugly Betty’s quirky pattern and colour combos and Miranda Priestly’s ‘rich-lady clothes’ in The Devil Wears Prada.
Dapper Dan, créateur
In the late 1980s Dapper Dan’s Boutique in Harlem was open twenty-four hours a day in order to cater to all the local celebrities: LL Cool J, Mike Tyson, Salt- N-Pepa and notorious drug dealer Alpo Martinez were just a handful of his regulars. By printing Gucci, Fendi and Louis Vuitton logos all over mink, crocodile and python outfits, Dap made booming business until the companies whose logos he had hijacked forced him underground in 1992.
Pat Cleveland, mannequin
Pat was one of the first African American supermodels. She was a stalwart at Studio 54, and a muse to designers Yves Saint Laurent, Halston and Stephen Burroughs. Known for her distinctive and runway walk, she continues modeling to this day – most recently appearing with her daughter in this year’s Lanvin spring/ summer ad campaign.
Mary McFadden, créateur
Mary McFadden helped define American fashion in the 1970s. A lover of ancient cultures and exotic textiles, she turned her hand-painted tunics, pleated silk gowns and elaborately embroidered dresses into a multimillion brand in the 1980s. Married five times (once to the King of Dogon), Mary is today dating Marquette de Bary, with whom she travels the world in order to add to her much-treasured and ever-growing collection of art and antiques.
Glenn O’Brien, writer
Glenn was the first editor at Andy Warhol’s Interview magazine, and a member of Warhol’s Factory. Between 1978-1982 he hosted TV Party, featuring Jean Michel Basquiat, David Byrne, Klaus Nomi, The Clash and many others. He has since been a stand up comedian, an ad-man for Barneys New York and the editor of Madonna’s book Sex. Today Glenn writes the column ‘The Style Guy’ for GQ magazine.
A project by Anja Aronowsky Cronberg & Vestoj produced by Lafayette Anticipation, Fondation d'entreprise Galeries Lafayette at MoMA PS1 on the 29th of March 2015.
With the participation of Pat Cleveland, Dapper Dan, Pat Field, Mary McFadden, Glenn O'Brien and Candy Pratts Price.
Illustrations by Bénédicte Muller for the cover and Caris Reid for the portraits.
Set design by David Myron.
Sunday Sessions is organised by Jenny Schlenzka, Associate Curator with Alex Sloane, Curatorial Assistant and Rosey Selig-Addiss, Associate Producer.