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JUST ASK: Harper’s Bazaar editor in chief Glenda Bailey has an irreverent streak when it comes to fashion. She’s asked Alber Elbaz to sit in the middle of a pond in Central Park and Jean Paul Gaultier to dress as a nun. She’s put designer clothing from Versace and Louis Vuitton on characters from “The Simpsons” and “The Smurfs.” Most recently, she asked artist Liu Bolin to paint and photograph Elbaz, Gaultier, Angela Missoni and Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli from Valentino.
On Monday evening, Bailey celebrated her latest collaboration with Bolin at Eli Klein Fine Art gallery on New York’s West Broadway. “I’ve been asking designers to do all sorts of things like this for many years, so I think they are used to it by now,” said Bailey. “It’s a nice opportunity for them to say something and show a different side of themselves.”
Gaultier talked about how nerve-wracking it was posing for Bolin, who gave him a quick massage during the process to try and put the designer at ease. “I had an assistant giving me Coke through a straw, to keep my energy up,” said Gaultier. “I only do this for Glenda. I mean, she’s asked me to do so many crazy things already. The process was hard but look at it — it’s wonderful.” He pointed to his photograph on the wall, which showed him blending into a photograph of striped shirts.
Bolin smiled when asked if he enjoyed working with the designers. “Very much! But my wife says I probably will not do it again. This was different for me.” Even so, he seemed in his element, greeting Francisco Costa, Alan Cumming, Thakoon Panichgul and Carolina Herrera.
“Isn’t this a nice opportunity to get friends together?” Bailey said, adding that she introduced Gaultier to Cumming in Paris a long time ago. She pointed toward the two, who were huddled in conversation for much of the night. “And did you know everything is almost sold out?” A few minutes later, Eli Klein came over and confirmed Bolin’s work had been snapped up. “His work is only available to people who have already acquired it,” said Klein. “It’s in high demand, so if you don’t have his work, it’s going to be hard to get it.”