“On the eve of Totokaelo’s New York store opening and the launch of its own ready-to-wear line, the founder and chief executive talks about her start in Seattle, global expansion plans and why e-commerce is the most important part of her business.”
TO CONTINUE READING, VISIT THE BUSINESS OF FASHION
Totokaelo, 54 Crosby Street
Why we care: The hit Seattle boutique is flying cross-country to open its doors here for the first time, bringing brands like Haider Ackermann, The Row, Dries van Noten, and Marni to men and women that the founder believes will draw in “creative intellectuals”.
When to expect it: September 12th.
SEE THE FULL LINEUP AT RACKED NY
1— Why did you open Dimes?
SS: We felt the city lacked a place where the quintessential NY woman (and man!) could grab a meal that offers a guiltless and balanced menu.
AW: After working on other people’s dreams for such a long time, I was ready to focus on my own.
1B— Ok, I love the mention of dreams. If you were gifted 10 million dollars to open an establishment (didn’t have to be a restaurant) anywhere in the world, where and what would it be? Mine would be a hotel in Amsterdam.
SS: I would commission James Turrell to build a skyspace on my holistic herb farm.
2— What makes Dimes great? How do you explain why it’s special?
SS: Dimes is a reflection of the young and vibrant creatives that make this city an anomaly. It’s so infectious to share that energy with our community of customers.
AW: Dimes has really strong ties to the neighborhood and such a great following of regular customers. It creates a super friendly community spirit that can be rare in such a big city.
2B— It’s super apparent that Dimes is fed by a creative energy. What’s feeding you guys creatively now? What visual artists, thinkers, authors, places or vegetables are inspiring and feeding you?
SS: Agnes Martin has always been an inspiration with the Dimes philosophy. I just rediscovered Lina Bo Bardi’s work, and I definitely see some of her references happening in the future.
3— Where did you guys meet? How long have you known each other?
AW: Sabrina and I met about 11 years ago working at Lovely Day in Nolita. A match made in heaven!
4— How do you describe the Dimes crowd?
5.—How do you describe the Dimes aesthetic?
AW: Clean, beautiful, timeless and fun.
SS: Minimal, with fun surprises if you take a closer look. We love mixing the room with different chairs from designers that we share a core philosophy on aesthetics with.
5B— I love chairs! In my next life, when I come back as an eccentric, I’ll found The Great Chair Museum and be its sole donor. Favorite furniture designers? Classic and current?
SS: Enzo Mari, Roland Rainer, Sergio Rodgrigues, Carlo Mollino, Martino Gamper.
6— New projects in the works? What’s next?
SS: There’s always something in the works :) The best thing about doing what we do is imagining the impossible and weaving those ideas into a Dimes vernacular.
AW: We always have some new things bubbling…..stay tuned!
7— Any mantras, philosophies or words you live by?
SS: When it’s good, it’s fun. When it’s bad, it’s funny.
AW: In general, just work hard and treat people well.
7B— Love these. Much respect. Along these same lines, if you could hop in a time machine and visit your summer-before-freshman-year-in-high-school self for an hour, what would you tell them?
AW: Be kind, confident, and true to yourself. You won’t remember any of these people’s names in ten years.
8— How would you describe the Totokaelo aesthetic?
SS: Totokaelo represents the archetypal modern woman. Comfort is always on the agenda. Confidence is embodied by the simplicity of her style. She’s effortless.
AW: Totokaelo is modern, classic, fun and fearless with a perfectly curated vision.
DressRachel ComeyFlora Dress 598.00
DressY's by Yohji YamamotoSuspender Jumper Dress 1,172.00
CoatRaquel AllegraTrench Coat 495.00
Ankle BootDries Van NotenMetallic Ankle Boot 785.00
EarringsNikos KoulisGeometric Cut Out Earrings 4,860.00
KnitYohji YamamotoMarbled Sweater 877.00
Ankle BootRick OwensCreeper Ankle Boot 1,792.00
ArtJulie ThevenotFringe Wall Hanging 390.00
Totokaelo New York opens at 54 Crosby St on Saturday, September 12. We gave NYMag a preview of what lies ahead.
See something you like? Hover over our store rendering to shop the story.
1. Outdoor space: 400 square feet with chairs, couches, and free Wi-Fi.
2. Library: Phaidon-sponsored community library.
3. White clothes: Rachel Comey dresses ($598).
4. VIP fitting room: By-appointment private shopping for top clients will include beer, Champagne, and lunch.
5. Colorful clothes: Blue Dries Van Noten boots ($785).
6. Jewelry: Nikos Koulis geometric cutout earrings ($4,860).
7. Women’s shoes
8. Dark clothes: Y’s by Yohji Yamamoto jumper dresses ($1,172).
9. Statement designers: Acne Studios robe coats ($1,550).
10. Home objects: Julie Thevenot wall hanging ($836).
11. Shoppable stockroom: Upon request, shop clerks take clients into the stockroom for exclusive products.
12. Smoking section: Six-foot-wide outdoor courtyard with benches and a mural by Margot Bird.
13. Men’s clothes: Yohji Yamamoto sweaters ($877).
14. Men’s shoes: Rick Owens Creeper ankle boots ($1,792).
We sat down with ceramist Ian McDonald after his curated show at Totokaelo to better understand the daily life and work of contemporary artists.
TK — Why ceramics? When did that love affair begin?
IM — I started working in ceramics when I was pretty young, around 18 or so, and I worked as an apprentice to potters where I grew up. I was drawn to ceramics then from a general urge to make things and mostly from the point of view of a functional potter. I was gifted a potters wheel around that same time, and put it in my moms garage where I basically made cylinders and simple forms that I cut up and assembled in the patio. I was less apt to finish work then as I really just liked the work of it all and the searching for form. I sometimes think not much has changed.
TK — What glaze are you loving now?
IM — I don’t know if I’m loving any one glaze now, but I have been working with multiple light layers of glaze recently in order to get more depth in the surface without relying on too much glaze or refiring in order to get a rich surface. I have also been thinking a lot about how the clay behind the glaze affects the surface and glaze, so I have been working with different clays for different pieces.
TK — What’s your favorite piece in the show?
IM — That’s also difficult to answer in particular because I see most of my work in combination with others. In order to be efficient, ceramics to me is a kind of numbers game, where you make many pieces at the same time and in turn get results in bunches. I have been working more with the discrete object recently, but even those are made from multiple parts and a basic vocabulary of shared units around the studio. I’m happy with the extruded pieces as this is something I have been working through for years now, but was never satisfied enough to show them.
TK — Can you tell me something new you learned during the process of preparing for this show?
IM — I learned some technical things this time mostly in terms of joining clay with a slip recipe I had never used. The extruded and stacked pieces have created some pretty serious cracking problems due to too much tension between glaze and clay. Although this sounds like serious shop talk, these technical strategies can in some way take you to places conceptually.
TK — What’s it like being Ian McDonald?
IM — That’s a crazy question! I’m busy with the basics. Whispering in my one year old daughters ear about clouds and her Mom. Cleaning leaves and pine needles around the house.
View the collection, now online exclusively at Totokaelo
Our Senior Director of Merchandising refreshes his home for Fall with new arrivals from Art—Object.
1. Phillip Low Sculpture No.24
2. Hawkins New York Handmade Recycled Glassware set of 6
3. Kati Von Lehman 4 Piece Plate Setting
4. Iacoli and McAllister Panca Bench in Black Metal/Neutral
5. A.P.C. Scented Candle in Cologne
6. Fort Makers Geometry Set III in Wood
7. Hawkins New York Large Handmade Recycled Glassware
8. Black Sheep (white light) Icelandic Sheepskin in Black
9. Dries Van Noten Tie in Bottle
10. Acne Studios Calis Baseball Cap in Black
11. Chikuno Life Cube in Black
Check out all of Philip’s selects on our Pinterest page
Ceramist Ian McDonald is presenting forty five new works this Saturday at Totokaelo. Ian will be available from noon to 7pm to answer questions and tell you his story.
Rachel’s Ginger Beer and Totokaelo have collaborated on another flavor. This one is boozy and and called the TK Mule. We’re launching in connection with Ian’s opening. Please join us from 5 to 8 pm and give it a whirl. It’s on us.
Shop Art—Object here
LAUNCHING SATURDAY JULY 11TH
Totokaelo x Rachel’s Ginger Beer = an exclusive flavor only available in store at Totokaelo.
Thanks Camp Doug for the bottle design!
Totokaelo celebrates independence by recognizing a few of our favorite independent thinkers. We’ve paired them with fashion that mirrors their influence.
YAYOI KUSAMA — the artistic polymath
The multimedia artist widely known as the “Queen of Polka Dots” never left home without them.
DAVID BOWIE — the chameleon rocker
Whether we’re talking about Hunky Dory, Ziggy, or dapper Bowie, these pieces all fall in line with the artist’s many fashion phases.
PINA BAUSCH — the theatrical dancer
As a pioneer of modern experimental dance, Bausch’s style was consistent —drapey blacks, whites and Yohji Yamamoto.
Images taken from a press release of Kusama’s 1964 “Driving Image” exhibition, a still from an appearance by Bowie on The Cher Show in 1975, and a photograph capturing a moment from Bausch’s performance of “Café Muller”.
A tour of the new Totokaelo office space is now up on Remodelista. In the article, founder Jill Wenger shares the story behind the space as well as her creative vision for the office interiors.
“The [Totokaelo] storefront and newly established office space…were conceptualized and executed by Jill herself. During the first ten years of business, everyone worked out of the stockrooms in the back of the original Totokaelo store. ‘Anywhere there was space, someone claimed it and tossed their laptop down,’ Jill recalls. As work conversation—and concentration—proved increasingly difficult, Jill began to look into acquiring a dedicated office space, a decision, she says that was ‘less about brand evolution and more about gaining much-needed thinking space.’” — Alexa Holtz via Remodelista
A special thanks to Michael A Muller for the beautiful photos.
French artist Camille Henrot’s first comprehensive exhibition in the US entitled “The Restless Earth” debuts this week at the New Museum in New York City. The exhibition is a collection of Henrot’s recent works, including visual translations of books from the artist’s personal library in the form of ikebana arrangements, a collection of recent video art, ‘hybrid object’ sculptures, and more.
“We hurry through aeons. Things evolve, the world gets complicated. Art and culture, science and starvation, extinction and global warming are all here. First we had drawings, then we had books, and then we had the internet. First came the artists then the scholars, the anthropologists and then the geeks. Henrot seems to submit to no boundaries between art and scholarship, or between one specialisation and another.” — Adrian Searle via The Guardian
“The Restless Earth” runs through June 29th.
ArtAleph GeddisTwo Cuboctahedrons Connected 450.00
FurnitureDaniel WengerLotus Chair 4,250.00
FurnitureTotokaeloWenger Chair 4,234.00
ObjectDoug JohnstonYamas Small 150.00
TextileBlack Sheep (white light)Icelandic Sheepskin 54 220.00
TextileElectric FeathersWoven Silk Tussah 18" Pillow 85.00
“Taster’s Choice” is a group show currently on display at MoMA PS1 in Queens, New York. The exhibition focuses on the concept of ‘choice’ or ‘selection’ and it’s particular importance within each participating artist’s creative process.
“Taster’s Choice highlights three emerging artists and one artist collective who regard choice as both the process and content of their work. They recognize what specific materials can convey: the intentionally neutral effect of brown industrial carpeting, or the aspirational nature of stainless-steel kitchen appliances. Juxtaposing materials and images, and filtering them for specific themes, the artists allude to emotional connections between individuals and objects, amplifying, distorting, and confusing the meanings that their choices suggest.” — MoMA PS1 press release
Images found on MOUSSE
The highly acclaimed American version of Paris Photo art fair takes place this weekend, April 25-27, at the iconic Paramount Pictures Studios in Los Angeles.
“Paris Photo Los Angeles, the US edition of the world’s most celebrated art fair for works created in the photographic medium, will take place at Paramount Pictures Studios April 25th-27th offering the ideal setting to explore how artists have been and are using photography and moving image in their work in the 20th and 21st centuries. Leading international galleries will present historical and contemporary bodies of works by renowned and emerging artists in the legendary Paramount Pictures’ soundstages. The New York Street Backlot, the one-of-a-kind replica of New York City’s streets, will be dedicated to the presentation of cutting-edge solo shows, Young Gallery exhibitions, and bookseller projects, each exhibiting within an exclusive movie set.” — Paris Photo
Strauss Bourque-LaFrance is an New York based artist whose work traces elements of the everyday, reframing familiar objects in order to put philosophical weight on the implications of their presence in our lives. His work also tends to be inextricably linked with literature in a rather Duchampian way; the titles of Bourque-LaFrance’s installations are often a large indicator as to the meaning of the piece, at times even working as a punchline.
“Bourque-LaFrance’s constructions, by comparison, stress the parsing of the awkward double, the hidden life of things, and by extension, closet desire and memory.” — Wendy Vogel via Modern Painters Magazine
The new retrospective for artist Franz Erhard Walther at WIELS in Brussels, Belgium entitled The Body Decides is a brilliant and colorful breadth of Walther’s expert sketches, textile-based performance pieces, and artistic experiments from the past and present.
"Franz Erhard Walther: The Body Decides offers an in-depth look at an influential German artist whose pioneering work straddles minimalist sculpture, conceptual art, abstract painting, and performance all while positing fundamental questions about the conventional idea of the artwork as an immutable, obdurate pedestal- or wall- bound thing…The show at WIELS, the first for the artist in Belgium and one of the larger of his solo exhibitions to date, will underscore the essential tension provoked by Walther’s work and the ways it thinks about what an artwork can do, or what can be done with it as opposed to how merely it appears or what it is. " — WIELS press release
‘Franz Erhard Walther: The Body Decides’ runs through May 11th, 2014.
American artist Nate Lowman steers away from pop culture subject matter to explore the abstraction of symbols in nature for his show Rave the Painforest at Maccarone Gallery in New York.
“A flower. A leaf. A rock. A stem. A heart. A shape. A stain. A drip. A memory. A State. An egg in a pan. Lowman presents new works that embark on a significant departure from his previous icons. In lieu of meditations on pop culture and political instants… Lowman’s works here conjure states of memory, modeled on the soft edges of the hand-drawn. Eliminating the reliance on the readymade, Lowman utilizes nature as a lens of fragmented recollection after years of urban experience to explore the fragile ecology of the mind.” — Maccarone Press Release
Rave the Painforest runs through May 10th.
Artist Hanna Eshel’s New York home and studio takes on a beautiful muted grey color palette, and the space is adorned very simply by her own subdued sculptures and untamed houseplants — take inspiration from the minimal yet lively nature of this space.
In a recent and rare interview with Alma Allen for T Magazine, the Joshua Tree based artist shares several fascinating stories about his life and upbringing; these stories come together to further explain Allen’s remarkably quiet rise to success in the art world. The article also includes photos of Alma Allen’s home and studio, all of which he designed and built himself in Joshua Tree.
“Alma Allen sees his life as having been defined by a series of risks. His sprawling desert compound in Joshua Tree, Calif., where the 43-year-old self-taught artist creates sculptures fashioned of marble, wood and bronze, is evidence that those risks have started to yield great rewards…His cultish followers often show up in person, buying pieces out of Allen’s living room, because, until recently, he was not even represented by a gallery, and had, with few exceptions, never even formally exhibited his work. ‘My sculpture has always existed in private,’ Allen says, ‘because it didn’t really fit into any category. My carving was very small, from stone fragments or salvaged wood. It was very rough and primitive. I was self-taught. It wasn’t really outsider art because that is really the art of the insane. I sort of defied categories, and now I am a little nervous about ceasing to be a ‘private’ artist, because I have never even been criticized or reviewed.’” — Matt Tyrnauer via T Magazine
In a recent article for T Magazine, Sight Unseen’s Monica Khemsurov covers the Salone Del Mobile design fair in Milan. Highlights in the Salone include camouflaged terrazzo pieces by furniture brand Dzek and experimental furniture designer Max Lamb as well as organically shaped fiberglass furniture designed by Faye Toogood.
Faye Toogood on the inspiration behind her new furniture line, Assemblage 4: Roly-Poly,
“A major departure from the colorful geometric aesthetic Toogood is known for, the furniture series was inspired by the changes in her body and her priorities after her first child was born a year and a half ago. ‘Something just happened in terms of the way I view shapes and colors,’ she says. ‘My daughter can’t be around sharp edges, for one, but there’s also a playful element at work. The chair almost looks like an elephant, the daybed like a pregnant lady and her bump.’ Toogood says she even sculpted many of the models for the collection using another throwback material: Play-Doh.”
Molly Smith is a contemporary artist whose work is directly inspired by natural materials like rocks, hurricane salvage, and tornado debris. Due to her interest in using found materials, the direction of the works are informed as much by the state of the objects when found in nature as they are by the artist’s own imagination — the result is a varied body of work with a quiet poetic wisdom.
“Smith doesn’t begin and end her practice with her own hand; instead she extends it to the realm of the elements.” — Artforum