Gary Baseman x Coach Spring 2015
Gary Baseman’s style is signature and unique to him and him alone. When Gary works, he operates from a world other than our own. His creations live by different rules, not only physiologically, but also in terms of energy and focus. He constructs an emotional environment around what he does, and invites us into that world. Most recently, his show “The Door is Always Open” at The Skirball Center literally invited the viewer into Gary Baseman’s home to reach a better understanding of who he is and what he does. That’s why it’s such a revelation for Gary to be working with Coach for their Spring/Summer 2015 collection. Normally we step into Gary’s world, but this time he’s coming into ours.
What Gary has put together for Coach and us is a series of monsters that visit the apparel. They mostly stopover on the front of knits, but also present themselves for inspection as the pattern for two airy chiffon dresses, and on the faces of bags from the accessories collection. Since their sojourn outside the world of Basemen is so rare, it puts us a little off balance in both expectation and results. “Is that really Gary Baseman?” we’re forced to ask. It is without a question. One of his monsters is even woven into the material of the show stopping pull over.
Gary names all of his monsters, a testament to how personally he takes each piece and moment. One of his favorites, featured as a print on a knit is Lou. Gary explains that, “I named him after the amazing troubadour, Lou Reed, who saved my life on many occasions with his singing and lyrics.” Lou holds an umbrella that looks remarkably like his own head. It is a mirror of the self into form, and how just one small example of how deeply Gary reaches into his own experience to tell a larger story.
Upon Coach’s debut of their collaboration with Gary, there was a strong response. InStyle remarked that “something was a little eerie about the scene,” during the Coach show, calling Gary’s monsters, “adorably scary critters.” Meanwhile, Kyle Fitzpatrick of The Fox is Black called the presentation of Gary’s work, “a seamless and quaint and quirky effect that takes Baseman’s creations and transforms them from art objects or cartoons to these high fashion objects of intrigue.”