studied at London’s Sotheby’s Institute of Art, moving to New York in 2007 to be a fine-art curator. There, she is a much-photographed figure, in Vivienne Westwood dresses, vertiginous heels and unusual headwear – she reportedly owns 800 hats by Philip Treacy and her current favorite headpiece has the word ‘art’ hovering above her head.
Engman’s current venture marries the creative vision of a handpicked list of contemporary artists with the highest technical expertise that haute couture has to offer. “This project is inspired by the tradition of haute couture, the one-off that aligns itself with the world of fine art,” she says. The pieces will be available exclusively to pre-order at NET-A-PORTER, and will be as at home in an art collection as in a collector’s closet. Engman is excited about reaching new audiences, “people who might not be involved with the art world, but can access this work through the medium of fashion,” she says.
For the project, performance artist Marina Abramović has created seven parachute-silk jumpsuits to reference the cycles of the universe. According to Abramović, the wearer of her Energy Clothes automatically becomes an extension of her work. “Energy Clothes are the most lucid expression of the theme of energy I have ever presented,” she says.
George Condo, the giant of surrealist-style painting created Opus 1 (Babydoll Parka), which fuses a satin parka jacket with a negligée/cocktail dress, held together by 18-karat gold staples, symbolizing a “high-low approach to haute couture”, says Engman.
Brazilian artist Vik Muniz, known for his photography that includes chocolate syrup and diamonds, assembled magazine and historical painting cut-outs on a puffball dress, for his Peau d’Âne Gown.
Mickalene Thomas, the Brooklyn-based artist whose challenge notions of beauty, submitted Elle, a ballgown inspired by the fabric of a dress her grandmother gave her as a child.
Thomas hand-sculpted the voluminous piece, adding subtle paint strokes to the underskirt.
The experimental artist Terence Koh, known for his stark performance pieces, created Pearl Bomber Jacket from 20,000 different-sized signature white pearls.
Whether to be displayed or worn, the allure of owning one of these pieces is hard to resist. “There will
be women who want to wear these pieces for a very special occasion, or just to celebrate the notion of art and fashion,” says Engman. “[This concept] is a really interesting hybrid: it pushes both haute couture and fine art in a way that hasn’t been done before.”
Available on a made-to-order basis through our personal shopping team; prices on request
NAME: Stacy Engman
PROFESSION: Art curator
MY STYLE IS: Iconic, inspired and fun
MY GO-TO LABELS ARE: Prabal Gurung, Givenchy, Valentino, Giambattista Valli
MY FAIL-SAFE PIECE IS: A pair of Chanel sunglasses
MY BEAUTY SIGNATURE: Red lipstick
Dress by Balmain; boots by Charlotte Olympia; ring Stacy’s own
Art direction: Jon Wetherell. Hair and makeup: Anja Grassegger at Factory Downtown. Set design: Luke Abby. Fashion assistant: Alexa Vaenstein. Photographs: PatrickMcMullan.com; Rex Features