Like the elusive Martin Margiela, who prefers to remain anonymous and let his collections speak for themselves, the designer behind the experimental label Slow and Steady Wins the Race also opts to keep a low profile so that the focus remains on the work rather than the person behind it.
Releasing bimonthly clothing and accessory “installments” via the SSWTR website and select retailers, the idea behind the collection is to distill classic clothing items – the white t-shirt, the button-down, sunglasses- to their core essence and make experimental ideas available to the masses, albeit in limited quantities (only 100 pieces of each style are produced).
Hence, the majority of items from SSWTR are priced at $100, while the offerings in the Luxe installment - a pearl embroidered t-shirt, alligator skin grocery bag and four sided leather Birkin-inspired bag - can be had for $1000, though one can custom-order a black velvet evening gown with matching fox fur stole for $10,000 or a Russian sable trench coat for $100,000. (Clearly, someone is partial to round numbers).
Like Maison Martin Margiela, each of the collections focuses on a specific theme, denoted by a number (No 1 – Seams, No 2 – Prints, No 3 – Bags, No 4 – Sweats, and so on).
There is also a wonderful tongue in chic vibe that runs throughout the SSWTR line, thanks to the clever interpretation of iconic designer items – the Balenciaga Motorcycle or Hermes Birkin bags, for instance, and YSL- or Gucci-inspired underwear sets – rendered in humble materials like canvas or cotton. The entire No 11 – New Bag collection, meanwhile, is an avant amalgamation of multiple designer bags re-imagined as a series of mega-status satchels (e.g., the Balenciaga/Gucci, the Hermes Birkin/As Four) that manage to look cool and offer a winking commentary on our cultural obsession with stratospherically-priced luxury goods.
Despite her (his?) desire to fly under the radar, The Fashion Informer managed to convince the enigmatic SSWTR creator to step out of the shadows for a quick chat about a few of his (her?) favorite things.
What's your favorite time of day?
Morning when light breaks because it evokes a sense of quiet anticipation.
What type of music do you typically play while designing the collection?
Anything from Bach to Roy Orbison.
Why do you opt to design the collection anonymously?
Because at the end of the day it is about the idea and the body of work.
Favorite movie of all time?
A tie so far between Visconti's The Leopard and Roeg's Don't Look Now. Just watch them and you will know why.
What do you do to relax?
Walking and writing down ideas in Central Park.
Tell me about your pet(s).
Coffee or tea?
What did you have for breakfast this morning?
Steel cut oatmeal with fresh blueberries, dried cranberries, raw almonds and a touch of maple syrup.
For what will you be arrested (hypothetically speaking)?
Protesting a group's struggle.
When you were 9, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A designer - true story.
What is your dream occupation (other than what you are doing)?
What's your favorite sound?
Right now, a string quartet.
What's your favorite smell?
Bois d’Argent by Dior Homme.
What freaks you out?
When are you happiest?
Laughing with friends.
Slow and Steady Wins the Race will debut its fall 2009 collection on Friday, February 13th at the Kiosk at 95 Spring Street at Broadway, 2nd floor. The presentation will then be open to the general public from 11am - 6pm on Saturday, February 14th through Friday, February 20th.
Photos courtesy Slow and Steady Wins the Race