Stacey Bendet of Alice + Olivia took homage to art as an inspiration for the Resort collection this year and did some good with it for charity. It was clear from the get go that her inspiration came from the neo-expressionist art world, and Jean-Michel Basquiat’s iconic imagery from the late 70s and early 1980s, before he joined the 27 Club in 1988 from an overdose of heroin.
But Bendet didn’t just decide to be inspired by the works of art from an artist who self destructed bat the height of his career. She instead chose to create this collection as a collaborative effort with the Basquiat estate, and half of all proceeds will go towards benefiting CFDA initiatives that support young artists in the fashion world.
Even if this wasn’t a collection with both something of a message, and a heart, not to mention a charity benefit aspect, Bendet has also once again managed to make a collection of stand out pieces that also happen to be commercially viable products.
Balancing art and commerce is always the name of the game when it comes to the fashion world. When you start adding extra layers, like homages to artists, or worlds like “collaboration,” or charitable giving, it has a tendency to work like a thumb on the scale, forcing the collection to either go super commercial to the point of unremarkable, in the hopes of raising the most money they can, or it winds up super over the top conceptual. Perhaps not quite on the level of Viktor&Rolf making models wearing actual deconstructed paintings, complete with frames, but certainly closer to that end of the scale. That This would up being both a highly fashionable line, but also one with workhorse pieces that could easily mix and match with the rest of one’s closet for the season might just be the best homage to Basquiat there is.
The full collection is below.