Sunday, November 29, 2009

"It turns out you can say a lot with fonts."

Rodarte Spring/Summer 2010

Eric Wilson finds some interesting insights on the creative process of Patrick Li – one of the top, and overall probably my favorite, of the relatively small crop of art directors producing graphics for fashion houses – in a
New York Times article this past Thursday.

“I would describe Patrick’s work as like distilling something to the purest form,” said Kate Mulleavy. “Laura and I are so quiet about how we communicate with people. We like to work in isolation when we are working on the collection. So the first person we talk to about what we are doing is Patrick.”

Mr. Li designs the fashion show invitations that are mailed to hundreds of editors and store buyers each season, enticing them to see a collection and sometimes giving them a hint of what is to come. Ms. Mulleavy said that she and her sister typically fire off a mountain of inspirations. The spring collection, for example, was based on transformation myths involving a person who is burned alive and reborn as a condor or a vulture. There was talk of California condors, burnt sand and the wildfires that were spreading around Los Angeles while the Mulleavys were at work.

“Their references each season are totally off the wall, and sometimes I think they are meant to confuse,” Mr. Li said. “You can leave the discussion thinking, ‘Oh, I don’t really know what it means for a California condor to intersect with a Robert Smithson earthwork,’ but each of those things imparts a certain feeling.”

Knowing those references and the collection, the invitation shown above is a truly impressive distillation of Laura and Kate Mulleavy's inspirations. That is not an easy thing to do as a designer, and Li succeeds time and time again.

FW2009 Phillip Lim invitation, and a look from the SS2010 show

Read the rest of the story at

Photos by Tony Cenicola for The New York Times

No comments: