My Fanboy Moment with a Fashion Force
Hanging with Rosie Assoulin in DallasBY Billy Fong // 02.25.19
Rosie Assoulin (Photo by Photographer: Bruno, Snap The Picture)
An Assoulin frock reminiscent of a Monet painting (Photo by Photographer: Bruno, Snap The Picture)
My favorite piece of the day - an architecturally inspired jacket (Photo by Photographer: Bruno, Snap The Picture)
A light as air green and white confection (Photo by Photographer: Bruno, Snap The Picture)
Separates for any occasion (Photo by Photographer: Bruno, Snap The Picture)
Plaid drama (Photo by Photographer: Bruno, Snap The Picture)
Rainbow sparkle (Photo by Photographer: Bruno, Snap The Picture)
Little Black Dress anyone? (Photo by Photographer: Bruno, Snap The Picture)
I‘ve been privileged to have met some truly incredible artists. There was the moment I was at a Leo Castelli opening in the mid 1990s (I was living in New York City for graduate school) and wandered upon Frank Stella as he was lighting a cigar. I’ll fess up, I took advantage of the opportunity and took out a cigarette and joined him for a smoke and got to bask in his glow.
During the late ’90s, I lived in Los Angeles and I was fortunate enough to have many friends in the entertainment industry. As a result, I met gifted filmmakers including Baz Luhrmann, Darren Stein and Sydney Pollack. Then during my many years working for art museums around the country found myself adjacent to artists we exhibited such as Robert Rauschenberg, Jeff Koons and Radcliffe Bailey.
Some might not hold fashion designers in the same realm as the above mentioned. I profoundly disagree. Those who create sculptural pieces that truly are wearable art are definitely artists.
I had the rare opportunity to meet one of those gifted designers — Rosie Assoulin. I first heard her name almost five years ago while in NYC at a brunch with Dallas’ very own Brian Bolke. He shared with me that he was going to be carrying a new designer that everyone would soon be talking about and her name was Rosie Assoulin.
Bolke pulled out his phone and showed me an image of a white gown with bold stripes that on the one hand seemed old school and reminiscent of something that might have been worn by Marella Agnelli or Kay Graham. On the other hand, it felt excitingly new and fresh in its fabric choice and architectural construction.
My dear friend, Ann Hobson, bought that dress and wore it to the next Dallas Museum of Art’s Art Ball. The vast amount of fabric had an air of Edwardian royalty to it, but the stark white background with bold stripes reminded me also of a 1980s surfer aesthetic. If the dress had been around at the time, I’m sure it could’ve been a runner-up to what Kay Graham wore to her and Truman Capote’s famed Black and White Ball.
Assoulin was in Dallas for a luncheon (thrown by Jennifer Karol and Kristen Cole) and to showcase her current spring and upcoming fall line. The designer has a distinguished pedigree. After studying at the Fashion Institute of Technology, Assoulin made her way to Oscar de la Renta in New York City.
There Assoulin was able to experience the icon at work: draping, cutting and pining his incomparable creations.
Assoulin then spread her wings to other creative fields and for a few years worked in event and floral design. Fast forward and in late 2012, she decisively turned back towards her first love, fashion — and her eponymous collection made its debut in 2014. Forty Five Ten has consistently carried her line ever since and she has a sizable following in Dallas.
And perhaps I am now her No. 1 Fanboy.