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Designer Stephen Sprouse American

Not on view

Beginning with his debut collection, for autumn/winter 1983–84, American designer Stephen Sprouse established a distinctive look, artfully integrating pop culture and street style into youthful fashions executed in luxurious materials. He attended the Rhode Island School of Design for three months before leaving art school to work in New York: first for the designers Halston and Bill Blass, then briefly as a photographer in advance of founding his own label. Halston’s modernist approach clearly informed Sprouse’s own development of classic silhouettes that were emboldened through the use of color, fabric, and especially pattern. Although Sprouse regularly looked back to the 1960s as a favored reference point, his designs were always devoid of anachronism, propelled instead by the parallel energy of 1980s youth and music subcultures. He was known for his ability to sketch, a gesture echoed in the graffiti motifs developed for his textiles that were frequently drawn in his own hand. This sequined minidress is characteristic of the paradoxical charm of the designer’s work. The scrawled neon print has been skillfully engineered and embroidered with a gleaming layer of clear paillettes, which lends a patina of glamour to an otherwise edgy garment.

Dress, Stephen Sprouse (American, 1953–2004), Silk, synthetic, American

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