Leave it to Patricia Field — designer, hipster godmother and resolute iconoclast — to drive 23 hours straight from New York to Miami at age 75, accompanied by her two poodles and artist Scooter LaForge. In a pearly aqua Thunderbird she calls a “guilty pleasure.”
The costume designer for “Sex and the City” and now TVLand’s “Younger” (where a middle-aged divorcée reinvents herself as a hip 20-something), Field is in Miami to showcase her Art/Fashion line at Wynwood’s White Dot Gallery.
Field launched the collection last spring after closing her iconic New York store, which — particularly in its East Village incarnation in the ’70s and ’80s — was a destination for the hip, rebellious and fabulous. A steadfast supporter of individuality, Field says her Art/Fashion line features one-of-a-kind clothes handpainted by artists such as LaForge, Jody Morlock, and Suzan Pitt (and favored by celebs such as Beyoncé, Miley Cyrus and Lady Gaga).
Miami Herald talked to Field in the run-up to her Art Week debut.
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Tell us about your store and your connection to artists.
My shop was always a hangout, a club, a laboratory for creative kids, that included painters, young designers, all kinds of creatives. [Artist] Jean-Michel Basquiat had his first art show in my store. [Note: Former Basquiat girlfriend Suzanne Mallouk is one of the Art/Fashion artists.] Isabel Toledo came into my shop with some samples, and I fronted her the money to get fabric to make the clothes.
So what inspired you to start the Art/Fashion line?
My customers would come in and complain that everything was the same everywhere, everything was boring, and this is the only place I can find stuff that’s one of a kind. Clothing today is either boring or over-designed. We would have Scooter LaForge pieces, and we did increasingly well with it. I thought I could be like a gallerist, a curator. It’s a tiny incubator thing. The artists take classic pieces, a T-shirt or jeans or a motorcycle jacket, and they get this added dimension. You give them a new punch. The main deal is it’s one of a kind. People are really attracted to that idea. I think because everything is so standardized. At the same time, there’s this elevation of individualism.
What’s it like to be designing for TV again with “Younger?”
The cast is great. One of the stars, Debi Mazar [who plays Maggie, a lesbian], used to cut my hair when she was like 16 in my loft; we’ve known each other all these years. Also Sutton Foster. When I first read the script I said, ‘How am I going to make a 40-year-old look 25? I’m not a magician.’ But when I met her I was like, ‘My problem is solved.’ She has this very young, wide-eyed energy. What I like about TV and films is the storytelling aspect, making these characters come alive. When you’re having fun with it, chances are you’re going to come up with something good.
You’ve had an apartment on South Beach since 1987. What keeps you coming back?
What’s not to love down here? It’s gorgeous. It was really fun when I first moved here, artists and old people and Marielitos. I loved it and I still love it. Though South Beach has become really commercial; I wish there was more flavor like there used to be.
Patricia Field’s Art/Fashion exhibit opens Thursday and runs through the end of the month at White Dot Gallery, 174 NW 23rd St./2245 NW Second Ave., Miami.