Installation At The Rosenbaum House
The Rosenbaum House in Florence, Alabama is the only Frank Lloyd Wright structure in the state. It’s unmatched beauty in design, function and uniqueness is a source of pride for the town and one the city has been diligent in preserving. For Billy, it’s a sacred space. “I’ve probably been there a hundred times,” he told the audience during a panel discussion on the intersection of fashion and architecture during Shindig No. 9. “I see something new every time I’m there. The attention to detail is incredible.”
We’ve shot three image campaigns in the house, and this year for Shindig, Billy and the visual team created an installation featuring the Spring-Summer 2018 Collection displayed on hand-made mannequins created from design elements including rivets, garment tags, zippers and leather pieces. Billy wanted to bring the 1939 Usonian structure into the fold as an official feature of the annual weekend gathering. That the only owners of the home, Mildred and Stanley Rosenbaum, had been lifelong ardent supporters of the arts made it a natural fit to utilize the space as both a venue and integral part of the installation.
A recent trip to Savannah College of Art and Design in Savannah, Georgia, where Billy saw an exhibit by Japanese artist Chiharu Shiota, inspired the idea to create an installation that fit the space where it was created. Shiota is known for her site-specific immersive artwork. “I’ve always appreciated Shiota’s work, and I never thought I’d have an opportunity to see it in person,” Billy said. That exhibit, “Infinity Lines,” involved wooden antique chairs with obvious wear connected by a single 60-mile long piece of red string. The string enveloped each chair like personal histories are tied to physical possessions. In the Billy Reid SS18 Rosenbaum House installation, the nod to Shiota by way of extensive string quickly became complicated. “We had to back up from that plan,” Billy said to a laughing crowd. But in the end, the mannequins fit in and among the furniture that Wright designed for the home as if they’d always been there, in homage to the Rosenbaums and the famous architect.
“The team absolutely knocked it out of the park,” Billy said. “I gave them the idea and they went crazy with it.” The team looked for materials we had in bulk and re-purposed them into individual mannequins, each with a different head that lent personality to the cast of characters placed throughout the historical building. “We let the process take over. We put no boundaries on it, tried things out and let it come together. I’m very proud of the visual team.”
Billy Reid summer intern and SCAD graduate Angie Stong captured the visual team working on the installation.