June 22, 2014

Artist Series: Sara Lemieux

Ever since we created the women's Washed Denim Project Jacket last fall we've been dreaming of a collaboration with artist and designer, Sara Lemieux.  Since 2010 she's been building her brand, LMX, consisting mostly of hand-painted vintage leather jackets and silk scarves- the importance of which, to her, symbolizes a second skin.  Back then she was spending a lot of time riding motorcycles so they both offered up necessary forms of protection- a strong theme in her work.  The patterns she paints on them are meant to be extensions of the self, albeit often an imaginary self, almost as if they were the equivalents of an outrageous spirit animal.  Her inspiration runs the gamut from old Vegas neon meets Sunset Strip, a truck driver with Native American lineage and the living room decor to prove it, throwbacks to Princeton Pride perseverance, and whisperings of a cryptic Jorge Luis Borges poem

On a recent trip to Maine, our women's creative director, Kate Jones, stopped in on Sara to catch up with her good friend and hand over one of our jackets so the magic could begin.  They wanted to explore the idea of embellished denim and its long standing history of beading, bedazzling, and embroidering as a way of donning your spirit from the inside out.  Think "Native Funk and Flash".  The paint stood in the place of thread and baubles, and the spirit was that of a wily woman, a tomboy with a soft side.  It seemed only natural to take the boyish work jacket and adorn it with flowers.  Sara added some age to the denim by softening it with sand paper, then, as a starting point, traced a floral motif from an image of a blue tattoo Kate had carried around for ages (inspiration waiting for the perfect project).  The idea was to play off of the color of indigo and give a certain amount of strength to the otherwise delicate image by keeping a monochromatic palate.  Finally, for good measure and one bold pop of color two pomegranates were added- the ancient Egyptian symbol of prosperity and ambition.  Two things you can never have enough of.

Thanks again to Sara for making the time and sharing the use of her very dreamy Portland work space...Keep an eye on her website for more amazing works.

Photos credits: Jack Halloway