Lauren Kovin had one of those creatively privileged childhoods we all dream about: Her father was a graphic designer, her mother an interior designer who stocked their New Hope, Pennsylvania, home with Memphis furniture and modern art. Kovin spent more time in galleries than in shopping malls; an Avedon portrait of a nude Nastassja Kinski hung over the family’s dining room table. Heaven, right? Wrong. “I grew up in suburbia, and it was so embarrassing,” Kovin says. “My mom would come to pick me up from elementary school wearing a Comme Des Garçons poncho and rubber booties. To a six year old whose friends all shopped at Sears, my mom was a freak show.”
Lucky for her, adolescence tends to suck anyway, and we reap its benefits much later: Because Kovin faced her fears of being different early on, by the time she went to Parsons to study fashion, she felt so free to experiment that her professors thought she was “a total weirdo” for basing pieces on John Cage compositions and photocopied Silly Putty. By the time she started her eponymous line in 2008, she had figured out how to skillfully incorporate the inspirations of her childhood (some of which are pictured among the eight here) into her work, earning her a reputation as an up-and-coming new voice in fashion. Oak bought up her first eight-piece collection — and so did her mom, whose closet in turn has become one of Kovin’s greatest resources. But you can’t tell that to a six-year-old.
Lauren Kovin’s clothes are currently for sale at the Areaware Stop Shop at New York’s Port Authority, which runs through January 2. Click here for more information.
For more than three years, the Argentinean sisters Sol Caramilloni Iriarte and Carolina Lopez Gordillo Iriarte kept a design studio on the second floor of a building in Barcelona, handcrafting an eponymous line of leather bags in relative privacy. Sol, 32, was working part-time as a set designer for films; Carolina, 25, had just finished a year apprenticing under her friend Muñoz Vrandecic, the Spanish couture shoemaker. Called Iriarte Iriarte, it was a modest operation. Then in June, fate intervened.
This story was originally published on November 3, 2009. A year and a half later, Dror Benshetrit unveiled at the New Museum a simple, scalable structural joint system called QuaDror, which just may turn out to be his magnum opus. It takes obvious inspiration from the kinds of toys he shared with Sight Unseen here. // Some furniture expands if you’re having extra dinner guests, or folds if you’re schlepping it to a picnic. But most of it just sits there, content to be rather than do. This drives New York–based designer Dror Benshetrit crazy. “Static freaks me out,” he’s said, and so the Design Academy Eindhoven graduate has spent the entirety of his young career making things that either capture a state of transformation (his progressively shattered series of vases for Rosenthal) or actually transform themselves (the Pick Chair and Folding Sofa that flatten using simple mechanics). When I first saw Dror’s latest project, a trivet for Alessi whose concentric metal arcs are magnetized so they can be reconfigured endlessly — and even, the designer enthusiasticaly suggests, worn as a necklace — I thought: If he can’t even let a trivet sit still then his fascination with movement must be more than a design philosophy, it’s probably coded in his DNA. I was right. Dror has been obsessed with kinetic toys since he was a child.
It’s half past eight on a Wednesday evening, and in the kitchen of the Pastoor Van Ars church, a few miles from Eindhoven’s prestigious Design Academy, a long table has been set with two propane gas burners. Normally, the burners here are used to boil massive amounts of newspaper into pulp bound for the cocoon-like structures of Nacho Carbonell’s Evolution collection. But tonight the Spanish-born designer has hijacked the flames to fry up two huge paellas: chicken and pancetta for the meat-eaters, eggplant and artichokes for the vegetarians.