Both Gilles Mendel, creative director of luxury label J. Mendel, and artist Enoc Perez are masters at celebrating the female form. The only difference is, while Mendel’s expertise lies in dressing women, those depicted in Perez’s paintings are often disrobed. When the two gentlemen met at a benefit for the Dia foundation, they immediately hit it off. “He has this sense of humor,” says Perez. “I knew immediately, this guy is French.” The artist’s wife is also French, and a loyal fan of J. Mendel. “He started to complain about how expensive art is,” Perez recalls. “I’m just like: Look, man, every time we step into your store I’m scared.”
The encounter quickly developed into collaboration: a book depicting Mendel’s designs through the eyes of Perez, Gilles Mendel by Enoc Perez. The artist married images he took in the designer’s studio with his own paintings, using collage to clothe his nudes in J. Mendel. Perez, who is also known for his paintings of iconic buildings, found harmony in the architectural aspects of Mendel’s work. The use of scotch tape adorned in silver leaf produces a DIY aesthetic, like an exceptionally sophisticated mood board. “To me, silver is New York,” says Perez, noting that Interview‘s own Andy Warhol’s factory was covered in silver.
Copies of the book signed by both Perez and Mendel were available at yesterday’s cocktail party to fête the designer’s new Madison boutique. Though Mendel had a lot to celebrate, he was particularly enthusiastic about working with Perez. “We connected very quickly,” he says. “It’s rare to do projects like that, where it’s purely about the experience.” But now that the two have collaborated, has Mendel got his hands on an Enoc Perez painting? “I’m working on it.”