While reading Elle Magazine’s 2015 December issue (I’m a little bit behind) last week, I came across an article on page 122 titled “It Takes Two”. Before I read the piece written by Alison S. Cohn, the beads displayed on the page caught my eyes. “I have seen these before”, I thought and smiled as my interest to read increased. They look very much familiar and I wanted to know what Alison had to say about them. The written piece talked about the collaboration between Derek Lam, an American designer and Walt Cassidy, a multi-media artist. Apparently, Derek Lam wanted to give his uptown muse a change of scenery for Spring so he asked Walt Cassidy to help make jewelry that defines his muse. According to the article, the only directives that came from Derek Lam was that Walt should make jewelry pieces that complements his mostly neutral color palette.
So he made these beautiful sculptural necklaces and earrings for Derek Lam’s Spring/Summer 2016 Ready-to-Wear collection. In the collection, these pieces were paired with knit dresses, wide-leg trousers, and long belted trenches.
I was a bit confused when the article stated that Walt helped Derek’s muse find her bohemian side. Wrong Alison? What bohemian side? The sentence under the title should have read as follows “Artist Walt Cassidy helps Derek Lam’s muse find her African side.” not “Artist Walt Cassidy helps Derek Lam’s muse find her bohemian side.” Are those necklaces bohemian? Those beads were sourced in Africa. Not only that, Walt is very fond of Africa and fascinated by tribal culture so he drew his inspiration from Africa. Did you know he had intended to move to Africa at one point in his life?
Derek already found his bohemian girl with the creation of his wide-leg pants or knit dresses (picture a vest and you will clearly see bohemian) if you ask me. As a matter of fact, according to the article, Derek envisioned a multi-dimensional woman who doesn’t like her look to be matched or coordinated. So in that case, Derek found the bohemian side while Walt found the African side. Walt took Derek’s muse out of Bohemia and flew her all the way to Africa! We can clearly argue that the origin of the ‘heishi’ beads can be linked to the Santo Domingo Pueblo (Kewa Pueblo) people but if you look up Walt Cassidy, you will know he did not go to Arizona nor did he look to the Pueblo inhabitants for inspiration.
Clearly Derek’s muse is an uptown girl who is well traveled. I really don’t appreciate the down play on the African side of Derek’s muse. If you meet Derek’s muse, the first thing you will notice about her is the necklace not the pant or the trench. The necklace stands out, period! The vinyl disc beads are from Africa, period!
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