The Way We Wear #1

March 29th, 2008

eli baxter

Nadine Kam photos
A detail of an Eli Baxter installation.

From time to time the way other people dress can inspire me to bust out my camera. So it was when I spent Friday afternoon at The Contemporary Museum during a walk-through of the TCM Biennial of Hawaii artists featuring site-specific installations of Eli Baxter, Vincent Goudreau, Javier Martinez, Yida Wang, Cade Roster, Wayne Zebzda and Meidor Hu.

I enjoyed walking around Wang’s exploration of breast cancer with an installation of hanging Latex breasts, Cade Roster’s series of manga-inspired Plush Gaiden, and Eli Baxter’s sculptures of recycled, polished bicycle tires, inner tubes and molded wax, somehow reminiscent of Alexander McQueen fashion designs.

While there, I ran into TCM’s PR officer Pualana Lemelle and took a photo of her in the museum shop next to the Art-O-Mat, which dispenses miniature pieces of art, whether jewelry, collage or a small sculpture for, last time I checked, $5.


Pualana Lemelle wears an Express wrap dress and gold Western boots from Catherine’s Closet in Manoa.

That reminded me I had a couple of photos of Neiman Marcus’ Contemporary Sportswear/Theory Specialist Alen Ajed. I’m in that department a lot, most of the time just looking, and he’s typically wearing designer, top to bottom, though in his own colorful style. I like that he’s not afraid to wear color and have fun with clothes.


Alen Ajed at the recent Hip Event wearing an Etro shirt with a watercolor-wash print, D&G jacket, Cicinnelli pink pant, Prada belt and Paul Smith tie. His favorite part of the ensemble are his Paul Smith floral design shoes.

On another occasion, I took Alen’s photo (below) with Donna Walden, who also caught my eye because she was wearing this season’s flora-, insect- and fantasy-inspired Prada shoe. Shoes that beautiful have to be uncomfortable, I thought, but Donna said they’re really comfortable.

alen & donna

Alen wears an Etro jacket over a heart-print Prada shirt with a Gianni Versace tie. I cut off the toe of Donna’s shoe, so below are details from Prada’s ad campaign.

prada shoeprada purple

When I highlight some of these pieces, I get emails or on Twitter, tweets along the lines of, “What is that supposed to mean?”

Well, to most people, nothing. I don’t want people to walk around looking like fashion clones or slaves. These are just the things I find particularly beautiful and enjoy seeing because they bring an element of beauty into daily existence. It serves the same function as a flower arrangement in an office or lobby, or, if so inclined, a Precious Moments figurine on your desktop. I don’t intend to encourage people to go out and consume, but I am inviting people to train their eyes to see more and to see the ordinary elevated through art.

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4 Responses to “The Way We Wear #1”

  1. Soos:

    Those floral shoes are cool.

  2. cw:

    i can’t believe i missed you friday.

    isn’t the biennial totally kickass! i love roster’s new sculptures. so cute. and WOAH yida wang!!!! i love that she is exploring more sculpture stuff. truly amazing.

  3. Katlin:

    So awesome to see someone rocking those Prada heels and purse in such a fresh way and not playing to all the trends- and in Hawaii! :)

  4. Nadine Kam:

    Missed you; were you in the cafe? I was there from about 1.

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