We spoke to Patricia Field about showing at Art Basel Miami Beach for the first time, why she will never wear polka dots, and more.
"Sex and the City changed the way people dressed," says Patricia Field, the stylish force responsible for that along with the wardrobe of movies like The Devil Wears Prada, and celebrities like Miley Cyrus and Lady Gaga (who were regulars at her NYC boutique). To bridge the gap between high-fashion and fine art, the 73-year old fashionista will be converging dual forms at ArtFashion, a gallery exhibition and curated collection of over-the-top, one-of-a-kind pieces that have her name written all over them.
Running at White Dot Gallery throughout the month of December, the art bazaar marks Field's Art Basel debut. Here, she gives us the information on what to expect, how SATC redefined how people dressed, and what she'd never be caught wearing.
Where was ArtFashion born out of? PATRICIA FIELDS: When I closed my store, I transferred my general website to an art/fashion online gallery. So conceptually it came as a result of my clients being more and more attracted to one-of-a-kind pieces and the homogenization of mass-produced fashion.
Why is Art Basel and Miami the ideal time and place to debut this? PF: I am a hard time Miamian and started going down there in the '80s when I bought my apartment on Fifth and Ocean. I worked in TV and film through the mid '90s until I got involved in Sex and the City and couldn’t be away from New York. Now I can't be away from Miami.
Tell us about the eight artists you've chosen to collaborate with. PF: Going back to the early '80s when Keith Haring and Jean Michel Basquiat-era was happening, there were many other artists that would bring their work in and we would hang it in my store. It felt like a clothing store with art on the walls early on. I reached back out to three of those artists from that time who were still painting and whose work I love. It's a combination of artists from the '80s and my life. I want it to feel like an art bazaar, which is kind of like my signature.
Is there a specific message you are trying to convey? PF: My main message is and always has been individuality. People deserve to discover their own originality and creativity—that is my credo.
How would you define your style? PF: I never really thought about it until it started coming back to me that people label me as the "high-low," the "mix and match." That’s how I grew up. My mom would buy me a cashmere sweater but at the same time I wanted a sneaker from a chain store of the time. To me, it was about how it looked not where it came from or whether it was designer or not—just about how you put it together.
How did Sex and the City change how people dressed? PF: Before Sex and the City, it was Chanel head-to-toe. You don't want to be in all one designer or a mannequin walking around. You want to be interesting for people to see you as a composition.
If there was a "Sex in the Magic City," what would Miami's fashion scene be like? PF: My best analogy is when I go to Gucci in New York, I see loafers in black and brown but in Bal Harbour I see a pistachio suede loafer. There is a more celebratory consciousness down there. Whether people come from any part of the world, they are there to have a nice time and be happy, and that echoes in the style and architecture of Miami and really the whole cultural sense of Miami.
What is the one item every girl should have in her wardrobe? PF: I love hats. The first thing you often see is a person's face and head. A hat is a perfect piece that can really define who you are if you wear the right hat, and it goes with your outfit.
What would you never be caught dead in? PF: I would never wear pastels or polka dots. I wouldn't feel comfortable. I have to feel like me when I'm dressed. Everyone should feel that way—don’t become a victim of commercialization.
What inspires you? PF: I always think of myself as a horse with blinders. Looking around or at magazines does not inspire me—looking at people and real life situations inspires me.