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Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Your First Look: Stephen Sprouse

Way back in the primordial ooze known as the 80s, designer Stephen Sprouse started out as an assistant to Halston, made art with fellow freaks at Andy Warhol's Factory, designed stage outfits for his friend Debbie Harry and ultimately opened a store of his very own. But it's possible that he's more sought-after now, posthumously, than ever before.

Taking stock, there's that photo-stuffed new book from Rizzoli that everyone is talking about (how major does Steven Meisel look?). Marc Jacobs, too, has followed up his 2001 Louis Vuitton collaboration with Sprouse with a new line of limited-edition accessories, launching this week with parties at Vuitton's Soho store, Deitch Projects and Bowery Ballroom. Bags, shoes, wallets, macs, cell phones and skateboards all get the graffiti treatment.

Now comes word that the latest issue of Le Book is "dressed" by Sprouse, the latest in a long line of collaborators that includes Karl Lagerfeld, Yves Saint Laurent and Azzedine Alaïa. We haven't the foggiest idea how the collaboration took place, since it's been five years since his passing, but there's no question Sprouse's neon-punk aesthetic makes for an eye-popping design—such as the rose motif on the cover, an image he achieved through photocopying and sent as thank-you cards to friends...

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