Stephen Sprouse: Day-Glo All Night

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Published January 9, 2009

Molly Sims and Marc Jacobs, Debbie Harry. Courtesy of Louis Vuitton.

 

The ghosts of Stephen Sprouse were everywhere last night—on walls, on pedestals, and certainly on the minds of downtown partygoers—as Louis Vuitton and Deitch Projects hosted simultaneous launches celebrating the late designer’s work. At the Vuitton boutique in Soho, Sprouse’s graffiti and rose motifs were emblazoned all over the brand’s new collection, including the green dress on Debbie Harry, who stopped by to whet her whistle before performing at the after party at the Bowery Ballroom. Eighties it-girl (and fellow Sprouse muse) Paige Powell, in from Portland, showed up in a pink number that was paper-clipped with colored plastic sheets—from her “stash,” she explained, of Sprouse originals.

 

The wares on display were, of course, polished punk: a gorgeous skateboard here, neon-green high tops there, and updates of the graffiti bags Sprouse designed with Marc Jacobs for Vuitton in 2001. “When those came out, I was way too young to afford one,” Eva Amurri recalled. And let’s be honest: seeing a six-year-old toting one around would be just plain weird. A couple hours into the cocktail session, a tall-babe trio made a splashy entry—Mary Alice Stephenson, Brooke Shields, and Molly Sims, still reeling from the success of that widely, um, disseminated music-video collaboration with Justin Timberlake and Andy Samberg. She’s of two minds about her newfound Web fame, Simms admitted. One the one hand: “Am I going to be that girl from the SNL video?” On the other: “Ten million hits!”

 

Meanwhile, a period atmosphere prevailed (and there were fewer Frenchmen in suits) down the street at Deitch Projects, where Sprouse’s rock-and-roll paintings (stacks of amps, Sid Vicious sans pants) shared space with designs on mannequins atop Day-Glo platforms. “They’re treated the same way, there’s no hierarchy,” explained Jeffrey Deitch. Veronica Webb, catching a glimpse of herself in a video of an old runway show, was transported: “Nobody knew what the fuck they were doing—we were all just learning to walk. But the clothes were brilliant and the energy was right.”

 

Marc Jacobs toured the space, as did hard-to-miss models Erin Wasson and Agyness Deyn, before everyone headed over to the Debbie Harry show. Powell, echoing Deitch, suggested that of the three Sprouse Houses set up that evening, the gallery in particular would have pleased her old friend. “Stephen was an artist and didn’t want to be known only as a designer. He wanted to have an exhibit at Deitch, so this would make him very happy.”