A few things you should know right off the bat about designer Patricia Field — she’s a born-and-bred New Yorker, she doesn’t like to waste time and she she believes that trends are a waste of money.
She’s been in business since 1966, overseeing various retail locations downtown, including the legendary 8th Street shop that was a scene all its own in the 80s. She’s won Emmy Awards for her work as a costume designer on “Sex and the City”; an Oscar nomination for “The Devil Wears Prada”; and unanimous praise (from everyone we know, at least) for her work on “Emily In Paris.”
But that was then and this is now, which is what Field is primarily interested in.
Feel free to pick up her recently published memoir “Pat in the City” to catch up on her extraordinary career and then visit her at her latest venture: ARTFASHION, a gallery that sells one of a kind garments that she personally curates, having chosen the stable of artists herself.
“I wanted to have another retail space but I didn’t want it to be a store — I wanted a gallery, “ she explains. “Everything here is one of a kind.”
One of the artists in the gallery is Scooter LaForge, a longtime friend of Pat’s, whose wild, primitive but thoughtful imagery decorates all kinds of clothing.
“Scooter’s art is unique,” Field notes. “His approach is very original — he’s expressing the way that he feels.”
LaForge is right at home there, as he notes that “my art has a dark sense of humor and it fits perfectly into the gallery. Pat understands that and she definitely is a champion of my work.”
He adds that “I want my clothes to make a statement, be comfortable and get noticed. Whoever wears my stuff is a walking art gallery.”
“If someone takes something home from here, they will be the only one wearing it,” Field relates. “It’s nothing like a department store, where everything is the same.”
Kyle Studmuffin, another gallery artist who sometimes collaborates with the others, says that “everything Pat does is unique and the gallery is no different. She has created a new space for a select group of artists to continue to grow, sell and collaborate from.”
Unique is the key word for her, as Field notes that “I have my own way of putting things together that is not typical, but retains a great look. It’s important to have your own sense of how you want to present yourself – people who respect themselves are going to present themselves to the world with that attitude.”
Artist Jody Morlock tells us, “I fit very well into this unruly group of creatives because we all are different in the ways we express our ideas onto the fabric. When someone buys my one of a kind hand painted garments, I hope they know I took time to select the piece, worked on it for hours, sometimes days. That it was not lined up like an assembly line to splash the paint on.”
Field has a philosophy about fashion, and she makes it clear that “it has to be interesting, not trendy. Trendy dies quickly – it’s a waste of money.”
Her gallery has evolved slowly, as she “didn’t want to do a big splash opening. I wanted to build it quietly. It’s a new experience in the realm of what I do.”
Jonathan Bressler, another gallery artist, praises the concept of the space.
“What makes ARTFASHION so unique is its variety of choices of designs from artist to artist,” he says. “Pat has always given her artists the opportunity to explore their talents. I hope people can take away from my work something unique and interesting.”
Field, who is also the subject of a documentary that is set to debut at the Tribeca Film Festival on June 15, is quite happy to be living close by her space, so that there is no time wasted in getting to work. And being in New York provides her with constant inspiration and energy.
“I stopped doing ‘Emily in Paris’ because I was homesick,” she admits. “I’m a New Yorker forever — I don’t think there’s another city like it in the world. I feel very fortunate that I was born here.”
Sticking close to home means that there is a good possibility that she will be at the gallery — happy to chat with her clientele (but please, don’t ask her which is her favorite “Sex and the City” outfit).
“All the collections in the gallery make her feel excited,” said Erica Guzman, the gallery’s Executive Administrator. She added that Field’s “favorite thing to do is spend time with clients at the gallery and show them things that will hopefully spread joy into their lives. That is what ARTFASHION is all about.”
There’s more info on the website patriciafield.com and on Instagram at @patriciafield.