VINTAGE FASHION

imperfectly perfect by Rebecca Moses

Posted on December 15 2020

Written by Allison Schaum

A creative by blood, Rebecca Moses is “always exploring new platforms to connect art and fashion.” After attending the Fashion Institute of Technology, she embarked on her storied career as a fashion designer working for Pierre Cardin, then moved to Italy and succeeded Gianni Versace at Genny. She founded her own brand, known for elevating cashmere in timeless ways, but her visionary artfulness took her in new directions, namely illustration. With an eye for personas, she whimsically paints women who radiate flair and magnetism. Moses herself is easily recognizable with her bright turbans and beaming smile. She is boldly unafraid of colors and mixing patterns; her charm lives in her unexpectedness. Her illustrations have been featured in major publications such as Italian Vogue and Marie Claire, as well as in exhibition form for the likes of Ralph Pucci. She has even published her own book, A Life of Style .

Most recently, she has taken to upcycling vintage handbags in her trademark illustration technique. Handbags were a natural choice for her, which have “always fascinated” her. When she looks at a vintage handbag, she asks, “Who owned it? Where did it travel? What did [the previous owner] carry? What did it witness?” It is almost as though she decrypts a bag’s past life prior to infusing it with a new one via her images. Her choice to upcycle old pieces couldn't be more vital in a time of environmental crisis that is forcing all fashion brands to consider innovative and long-lasting avenues of reducing waste. “Moving, preserving and upcycling fashion into art is a wonderful creative process,” Moses says. “I so enjoy painting on different surfaces and objects.”

During the pandemic, she searched for light amongst the global distress with an open call to women everywhere asking them to write letters describing their isolation situation, including attaching a personal photograph, in exchange for a portrait of each author. The letters—which you can find scattered throughout her Instagram—flooded in, and the Stay at Home Sisters community emerged as a beacon of hope. Once again, Moses managed to poignantly hone in further on her voice. The project developed from those staying at home to those on the front lines. She began to paint a celebration of nurses at Mt. Sinai in portrait form, which is now on display at the hospital and has even been featured in the N ew York Times . The stories these first responders shared with her touched at the heroism of those facing Coronavirus-19 head-on, and in turn Moses honored them by painting their individuality in dazzling color—something that often gets lost while constantly wearing P.P.E. She combined the Stay at Home Sisters with her upcycling, painting these women, which has effectively become her signature, on the faces of her one-of-a-kind bags. Both works of art and pieces of fashion, she writes, “The bags are completely wearable but also are perfect to place as canvases on your wall as I do in my atelier.”

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