Sunday, 4 November 2012

Desk Side: Valerie Steele Loves Playing with Clothes

Welcome back to our column, Desk Side! Sorry, PRs, we stole your lingo and in this feature we’ll go to the desks of some of your favorite designers, editors, stylists and assorted industry insiders to see where the magic happens–and then share it with you!

We’ve talked with pink-tressed designer Chris Benz about his love of the 90s and with Lucky EIC Brandon Holley about her home grown tomatoes. This time around, we visited fashion historian Valerie Steele at her office–bursting to the seams with books, obviously–to chat about her love of Japanese fashion and what she thinks of street style. You may know that Valerie is the curator and director of the Museum at FIT, but you should also know that she once had a serious punk phase while she attended Yale.

From some painful looking shoes to a custom Toledo illustration, this isn’t your average desk!

Fashionista: The glass shoes I saw in your office are amazing, what’s the story behind those?
Valerie: Yes, the glass shoes are by an artist called Camille Norment. I saw them in an exhibition in SoHo and I just wanted to buy them, instantly. When I look at them I find it sort of terrifying, because it’s all made out of broken shards of glass. But [Camille] said that when men saw it they all went “Oooh, Cinderella!” and when women saw it they went, “Ow ow ow!” They’re actually huge, they’re not like Cinderella tiny shoes. They would actually be like a size ten or something.

So, speaking of shoes I’ve noticed lots of shoe books around your office and on your desk with book marks and notes in them. Are you working on something with shoes at the moment?
In February 2013 my colleague Colleen Hill and I are going to be co-curating a show called “Shoe Obsession” which will be about extraordinary and extreme 21st century shoes. Nobody’s ever done a shoes show quite like this.

Is there one era in history that you’ve always been obsessed with? In terms of the fashion but also the culture and the people as a whole?
Well, when I started studying fashion I was focusing on the late 19th century and I do like the Fin de siècle, the 1880′s and 1890′s. But I think that ultimately I’m most interested in fashion right now.

What was the last thing you saw that blew your mind or shocked you in fashion?

Stephanie Powers Nicki Minaj

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