Today is all about a gentleman who has elevated the art of fashion illustration and taken it out of the sequestered design rooms of fashion and brought this art form to the public via GQ and The NY Times, Prada, Barneys, Mr. Porter, Dries Van Noten and many more avenues. Richard Haines is a ubiquitous presence at men’s fashion shows and events all over the world. As he was once described as “the cool dude with the sketch pad” but this writer would prefer to call him a visual diarist who has chronicled the world of fashion as well as everyday fashion folks through his body of work.
This week begins a 6 week show of Mr. Haines’ work at DANIEL COONEY/FINE ART gallery in West Chelsea. What more evidence does one need than this to clarify the eternal conundrum of whether or not fashion is art and can art can make fashion its focus.
Below is a redacted interview that I conducted with the illustrious Richard Haines some time ago and yes, the pun is intended. A little insight into the artist and the man in his own words:
Jeffrey Felner: What is the most treasured possession in your wardrobe?
Richard Haines: I don't approach clothes that way. I treasure art that my daughter did when she was 5 or 6, and a lovely drawing a dear friend left me, but clothes, not so much.
JF: What is your most sterling trait?
RH: Hmmm, well, I’d have to say my humor. It gets me through a lot, and people seem to enjoy it. I would have said drawing, but that's not really a trait, is it?
JF: What’s your advice to the “newcomer?”
RH: Practice some humility, and life is not like reality TV...
JF: Who is your favorite designer?
RH: That’s like asking for a favorite artist… it's impossible. I love Prada and miu miu-i was in the stores in Milan and was just blown away by the level of execution and vision. I have so much admiration for Marc Jacobs and his creative stamina, and there's Dries, Lanvin, and Comme des Garcons...it goes on.
JF: In 3 words or less, describe the current state of fashion.
RH: vibrant, chaotic, democratic
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