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Patrick Church's Latest Collection Marries Art, Fashion, & The American Dream

The vision for Patrick Church’s reverie-inspired pieces that were featured in his exhibition, Drive Thru, at Lower Manhattan’s TOTH Gallery, spawned with interpretations of both the “shiny and new” as well as the past in mind. Church’s New York Fashion Week show was the British multimedia artist’s first solo stateside exhibition and spotlighted lively pieces from his most recent collection. Seamlessly yet carefully fusing his hand-painted prints onto motley fabrics, Church, for the first time, created a collection that underwent the mass production process, subsequently yielding unlimited creative opportunities. Church’s playful and idiosyncratic collection marries the idea of the American Dreamconsumerism at its core—with alluring details of sensuality. The show highlighted a cast of all older women adorned in Church’s profound collection—an intentional artist statement aimed at rejecting the domination of 20-somethings in the fashion realm. Fervent, curious, and wide-ranging in prints, Church offers a rather nuanced, more enduring approach to pairing art with fashion. Prior to the show, Milk sat down with Church to talk more about the collection, his creative process, and the piece he calls “iconic”; read the full interview below. 

What inspired this collection?

This collection is the first one that has been produced, instead of every piece being hand-painted. I was inspired by the idea of the American dream, by the idea of mass producing something shiny and glossy and commercial, and by American consumerism. I wanted to create fantasy moment– a fragment of the past. The collection is very sensual, incorporating fabrics that cling to the body like mesh. I found inspiration by looking at clothes my mother used to wear, I thought she was so glamorous and beautiful.

I wanted the collection to feel shiny and new, but still retain the feeling that hand-painted clothing gives. All the prints are derived from my hand-painted artwork, and that’s the foundation of the collection. Production offers a lot more opportunities, including  printing onto fabrics that I previously wouldn’t have been able to paint on. There were no limits to what I could create and that is really exciting. We shot the collection in an amazing apartment on the Upper West side that hasn’t been touched since the sixties. I wanted to capture that moment in time. The collection is called Drive Thru because it represents how fast New York is, how things evolve and change so quickly. This collection for me is about change, about moving forward.

What was your creative process like, from first sketches to final product?

The prints are really the foundation of collection and  I always start off with a series of drawings that relate to each other to create them. I collect a lot of vintage pieces and often use these to find inspiration. The design process begins with creating the prints, then I choose a silhouette and match them together with what I think works best. I often have a story or narrative in my head before I make anything. For me it is VITAL my work tells a story.

How do you want people to feel when they wear your clothes? What feeling do you want to evoke?

I want people to feel empowered and, like they can take over the world.

Which piece are you most excited about? Do you have a favorite?

I’m most excited about the denim two-piece—it’s iconic!

Images courtesy of Patrick Church

Stay tuned to Milk for more NYFW coverage!

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