Glossy art and fashion magazine As If has launched The Collaboratory, a platform for limited editions, capsule collections and one-of-a-kind pieces created in partnership with the artists, actors and designers that fill its pages.
The publication’s recent collaboration with post-modernist painter David Salle, Scarlett Johansson and designer Peter Hidalgo produced scarves, $295; pillows, $395; poufs, $495, and dresses, including a T-shirt dress, $3,100, strapless cocktail dress, $3,950, and off-the-shoulder sheath, $3,600, all printed with collages inspired by Salle’s 2019 “Musicality and Humour” show at London’s Skarstedt Gallery.
A shoe called the Pussy Power Pump, designed by Dee Ocleppo and embellished by artist Ashley Longshore, was created for Jennifer Hudson, the cover model of As If’s current issue, and is available for $400.
“Jennifer Hudson represents the quintessential American Dream, that if you have talent, and lots of it, you can really reach for the stars,” said Tatijana Shoan, As If’s editor in chief. “She’s a very positive person in spite of all the tragedy she’s gone through. What I love about Jennifer is she throws her shoes at singers she likes.
“Despite the art world not opening its doors to her, Ashley has continued with her passion,” said Shoan. “I took some of Ashley’s patterns and put them over a shoe and presented them to her.
“While the million-dollar paintings of major artists, whose work you love, are out of reach, you can now find collaborations with artists in major museums, boutiques and in our pages,” Shoan added.
Creative matchmakers who facilitate collaborations, Shoan and Fishkind, designed shoes inspired by a pair of slip-ons famously worn by David Bowie and captured by British photographer Mick Rock. They recently showed their designs to Rock at the Mercer Hotel, when the images caught the eye of Benicio del Toro, who was sitting at the next table.
“He saw these incredible shoes, and he knew Mick’s [work] and wanted Mick to shoot him,” Fishkind said, adding that the chance encounter led to a feature about del Toro with Rock’s images that will run in the May issue. “We have four versions of the shoes by Mick in production. Signed by Mick, they’ll sell for $125.”
In another tie-in later this year, arranged by Fishkind and Shoan, Judith Leiber creative director Ocleppo will incorporate the work of artist Kenny Scharf, best known for his graffiti paintings, into evening bags.
“We started to realize that collaborations are here to stay,” said Fishkind. “It’s not just a trend, but represents what luxury really is about. We thought this is a unique area that we can own. We have relationships with artists, so why not do it for ourselves?”
“I’ve done a fair amount of work in theater, which is truly collaborative, where you’re working in the service of something larger,” Salle said. “I’m accustomed to that and I like that. I think it’s interesting. At a certain point your own ideas are just yourself rattling on inside your head. We’re alone in our studios most of the time.”
Salle, who studied under John Baldessari in the Seventies, said the late artist once told him, “‘You know, David, every artist should have a cheap line.’ Art can be as inaccessible as the market wants it to be, but why is that the only option? Art should be accessible.”