Interview: Pari Ehsan


Fashion meets art in the work of Pari Ehsan, who coordinates whimsical high fashion ensembles with works of art and architecture and captures these pairings in striking photographs on her blog and Instagram @paridust. Her process is simple: based in New York, she makes a routine of visiting galleries every Saturday to explore new exhibitions and seek out potential sartorial connections. OxStu Fashion spoke to the Instagrammer, whose account was recently awarded by the Council of Fashion Designers of America, about her creative process, the world of blogging, and the dynamic relationship between fashion and art.


Could you briefly describe what your blog is about, including its premise, its goals, and its audience?

It is about the nexus between art, fashion and design. The concept is to educate readers on the artists that I admire and respect through the lens of fashion—also to provide style inspiration and visual candy. My audience is anyone who has an interest in either of these worlds, much like the eclectic mix you would find at an art opening.


What is your background in fashion and in art, and how did you become interested in the intersections between the two?

My formal training is in architecture but my original loves have always been art and fashion. When I began Pari Dust, I was craving offset to the more rigid architecture and interior design I was doing at the time, I wanted to do something that felt more natural for me, something free spirited. I’ve always been interested in creating visual relationships; I started by collaging images from fashion and design magazines on top of each other, and this idea evolved into me creating my own imagery.


What do you perceive as the similarities and differences between fashion and art?

I think that both fashion and art are about expression and discovery. The way artists and designers create and the way that emotion is injected into their creations has the ability to elicit a certain response in people. I think the differences perhaps revolve around that fashion is created around the body so that parameter or starting point is always there whereas artists have to create their own context and their own reasoning.


What is your creative process?

The process is very intuitive, I try to see as much as I can and usually when I see something I know right away that I want to try to create a relationship and document it. I think that’s what is so appealing about art—that it evokes feeling—and ultimately when I style a pairing, elements of that feeling must carry through.


What are the formal qualities in a work of art that you find particularly open to sartorial connections?

I think that texture and materiality plays an important role in the pairings. I am also interested in the interplay of light and materials. The relationship between the fabric and the medium creates a certain level of depth and intrigue.


How do you stay informed in the contemporary art scene?

I am lucky to be surrounded by many creatives, artists, collectors and we are always talking and sharing. Every Saturday I’ve made it a ritual to visit new exhibitions that have opened, the art scene in New York is always thriving so there is constantly something to see and discover.


Which brand collaboration has been the most exciting to you?

Collaborating with Nars, the beauty brand, was a very special experience. The idea of focusing on beauty in its relation to art was a new facet to explore. I wore a different shade of Nars lipstick with the works of Tom Wesselmann, the American artist known for his exploration of the female form. The collaboration was shot in the late artist’s studio; it was quite intimate, which I think made the imagery that much richer.


What do you think is the key to successful fashion blogging?

I think you just have to exist in a vacuum for a bit and really find a concept that speaks personally to you. If you find a specific focus that is weird or a little off, you never know—people might take to it. As long as it is fulfilling to you creatively, I think that is what’s really important and the rest will come.

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