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The Fusion of Fine Art and Fashion

On Wednesday, November 16th, 2011 Active Ideas Productions & General Assembly hosted: The Fusion of Fine Art and Fashion

The Featured Panelists were:

Patrick McMullan: Photographer and founder of Patrick McMullan Company
Austin Scarlett: Fashion Designer & Project Runway Star
Bill Indursky: Co-Founder of

Moderator: Annika Connor

Art and Fashion have always been inextricably linked. This discussion will focused on the newest incarnations of that concept. Not only has there been a reciprocal influence in the worlds of art and fashion, but in the last decade, a more direct link has emerged—collaborations. Artists and designers have crossed genres, at a meeting of two creative forces, and in essence, developed a hybrid art form.

How does an artist break into the fashion world? By what methods should a designer decide to work with an established or upcoming artist? How has the retail landscape and reproducible nature of fashion items affected this partnership, and how in turn is the fashion market being influenced by art? These and many more questions were addressed as Annika Connor leads the discussion exploring the Fusion of Fine Art and Fashion.

Panelists Bios:

Patrick McMullan is a photographer, columnist, television personality, and artist who needs little introduction.  As Andy Warhol famously said "If you don't know Patrick McMullan, you ought to get out more!" Hailed as the premiere nightlife photographer in New York City, McMullan's work appears regularly in his weekly New York Magazine column, "Party Lines". His other columns include: Allure, Interview, Hamptons, Ocean Drive and Gotham among others.

McMullan is a contributing editor at Vanity Fair and his photography has been featured in publications worldwide such as the New York Times Magazine, Vogue, Harper's Bazaar, Details, and Paper.

McMullan’s photography studio and agency is based in New York, and through his website:, viewers can get a glimpse into some of the most exclusive events in the city, ranging from gallery openings, fashion fetes, and fundraising galas.

As an artist, McMullan’s newest book Glamour Girls, compiles one of the largest collections of photographs ever published of the world's most celebrated women and features over 1400 images that span McMullan’s long and illustrious career.  In 2007, he was the subject of a retrospective hosted by Gavin Brown’s at the former Passerby Bar.  The event showcased McMullan as a transformative figure in the industry, elevating nightlife photography to new and influential authority of culture.

During this panel discussion McMullanspoke about his work in fashion and art, and addressed the overlap between Fashion and Fine Art he has observed through his years working on the scene.

Austin Scarlett is a designer whose work spans the realms of fashion, theatre and pop culture.  Scarlett’s work has been described as “magic” (The New York Times), “worthy of a goddess” (Elle), “technically innovative and esthetically sublime” (Madam Figaro), and he, a “bright young thing” (Artforum).

Born in Cottage Grove, Oregon, as a teenager Austin moved to New York to pursue his education at The Fashion Institute of Technology. He also studied fine arts at The Art Students League of New York. After graduating, Austin continued his studies by working as an apprentice costume archivist at the Museum at FIT and their collection of historic costume and Haute Couture.

In 2005 Austin made television and fashion history with the creation of his famous corn-husk dress, on the very first episode of the Peabody award winning Project Runway.

Austin continued to develop his reputation for couture when he served as creative director of international bridal and evening collection Kenneth Pool, designing over six seasons of gowns from Spring 2006 to Spring 2009.

Scarlett"sother Television projects include his traveling fashion adventure "On the Road with Austin and Santino" guest jugging Project Runway Korea, and Project Runway All Stars airing 2011-2012.

Austin's life long love for theatrical performance has led him to costume design and collaboration with artists such as Shen Wei, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, David Parson’s Dance as seen on PBS, The Aspen Santa Fe Ballet, Greenwich Music Festival: 2010 El Cimmarone, 2011Jean Cocteau.

As a part of this discussion Scarlett spoke about Fine Art and it’s influence on him as a designer as well as give a brief talk on fashion history and the long tradition of Artists collaborating with Designers.

Bill Indursky co-founded, one of the largest vintage, antique, and design websites on the internet today.  The site which began in 2006, has become a valued source for millions of site users including the trade and savvy public with over 16,000 items online from around the world and more than 700 informative articles.

As part of VandM, Bill and his team have developed one of the only trend forecasts connecting design trends and antiques which is presented each year at High Point, NC, to the largest trade furniture show in the world.

Before starting VandM, Bill founded FLASHcap Interactive, an award-winning, New York City-based, marketing and interactive firm with projects for the likes of SONY, Panasonic, Adobe, Epson, Canon, Kodak, and the Ford Motor Company.

Bill worked in the New York fashion industry for almost nine years before starting his own interactive web firm.  Indursky was employed by Liz Claiborne and J.Crew as well as having his own boutique fashion line of club wear in the 1990s.

Bill graduated with a Master’s Degree in Architecture from the University of Cincinnati, OH with a minor in Fine Art Ceramics and today still tackles the occasional interior.  He has been honored by landing on three Top 10 lists on the web site Apartment Therapy (best small space, best apartment 2010, best spaces NYC) and his apartment was also the first to appear on the well known site, The Huffington Post in their new real estate house tour section.

As part of this discussion, Indursky spoke about the intersections of art, fashion, and design and how having had multi-design approach has helped him in the design industry, and what he sees for the future of hybrid designers.