Monday, May 2, 2016

Meet Michael Vollbracht ... living legend of fashion



“Brevity is the soul of wit” said William Shakespeare


Michael Vollbracht is one of those designers who has achieved great notoriety and recognition on a multilevel platform. This is a designer’s designer who trained with Beene, collaborated with Henri Bendel (when it was the go to destination of the uber chic), went on to design one of the most emblematic and ubiquitous symbols of life in New York City (the Bloomingdales “face” shopping bag), then to his groundbreaking eponymous collection and then his final bow on Seventh Avenue at the helm of Bill Blass. Today Vollbracht utilizes his skills within the worlds of painting and illustration with side gigs that satisfy him strictly on a creative level.

 
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In today’s world, there is no question, that he is considered an iconoclast or maverick or maybe both but most of all he is an artist and one of the few who just did it; he defied, he actually designed and most off all he needed no trend to follow and yet achieved that covetous white light on an international stage for his brilliant works, whether on cloth, paper or canvas.

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These days he is Michael Vollbracht, as he is known today minus the “e,” the artist who continues to turn out his paintings and illustrations while retaining his own particular point of view. When it comes to the oeuvre of his lifetime thus far, he is unquestionably a designer who proved that fashion is an art form and that he is most fluent in the language of art, fashion and style.

 
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“Brevity is a great charm of eloquence” said Marcus Tullius Cicero


Jeffrey Felner: If you could invite any 5 people to dinner who would they be and why?

Michael Vollbracht: Mary Todd Lincoln, Marie Antoinette, Cleopatra, Amelia Earhart and Thelma Todd since I like a tragic ending

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JF: You have always been an artist at heart, what made you go into fashion and why did you leave it?
MV: Fashion is my passion. I didn't leave it; it left me

 
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JF: You were “artist in residence” so to speak at Safety Harbor Spa for a while; can you speak to your time there as to why and what you do you feel you accomplished during that time?
MV: Bad time, I had the silly idea that I could turn a third-rate spa into something special. Alas, it was sold to a family I didn't get along with and so it was bye bye spa.

 
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JF: What was your favorite project and why and if you could do a collaboration today, who would it be with and why?
MV: The one I'm doing today. I'm designing a "drag show" for Equality Florida in St. Pete...I'm mixing straight, gay, black, white, male and female all to help my "family."  During these scary times...Boycott Mississippi  anyone? 5 watch Project Runway...I don't know if fashion school works today  as students want instant fame and not to learn how to feather - stitch a collar.

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JF: What would be your advice to any up and coming or student designer and why?  Care to share what was the advice you ever received and from whom and why you consider it so valuable?
MV: Norman Norell once turned to me... (While we were working on his retrospective to be shown at the Met) and said "It's all bullshit" and that’s what I would tell all students of fashion.
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