Kimberly Brooks’ The Stylist Project is a series of portraits that focuses on the professional stylist and fashion-industry insider as its subjects. The Los Angeles exhibition features paintings of some of the world’s most influential style-makers, including owner A + R and former WWD Bureau Chief Rose Apodaca; Madonna’s personal stylist Arianne Phillips; New York Times Magazine stylist Elizabeth Stewart; Mad Men costume designer Janie Bryant; and stylist to the stars Rachel Zoe, among others.
By bringing these behind the scenes players on canvas, The Stylist Project comments on fashion and those responsible for setting the trends. As Brooks says, “It’s great to contribute to a conversation about fashion and art — about fashion in art.”
Shortly after her successful 2007 exhibit Mom’s Friends, which focused Brooks’ brush on the personal relationships of her mother, as seen from Brooks’s childhood perspective, the artist found inspiration in the influence of Coco Chanel on the works of Henri Matisse. However, whereas Matisse’s work was influenced indirectly, Brooks sought to make fashion and style the subject of a series while reflecting the personality within a portrait. Apodaca adds, “I decided to wear the dress I was married in just the year before. That, the vintage horn chair, the rush of color… it all just seems very personal when I look at it.”
Stewart was also impressed by the artist’s dedication to a soulful rendering, saying, “She came into my home and worked with me on the setting… it was very important to her that it reflected me and my style.”
Fashion, more than any other art form, is temporal; it shifts from season to season. Although there is a hyper-articulate niche in society that directly engages in a dialogue about fashion-as-an-art, it is most commonly a passive interaction. Brooks is conscious of this fleeting nature, saying, “Someone will get dressed up only for a moment — for a movie, a TV show, a red carpet – and it comes and it goes. I wonder – what will theses portraits look like in a hundred years?”
Check out The Stylist Project, on exhibition at the Taylor de Cordoba Gallery, Tuesday thru Staurday, 11 am. – 5:30 pm, until April 3
by Panagiotis Giokas