Last Friday, Aimé Leon Dore launched its Fall/Winter 2022 collection.
As is now customary, the collection was an immediate success, both among the brand’s fans (among whom I count myself) and insiders.
As usual then, the collection was preceded by a series of campaign videos that recount the inspirations, philosophy, and narrative behind the exploration that Aimé Leon Dore has been pursuing since its inception.
The brand, which is becoming a symbol of New York City around the world, has also opened a flagship in Europe, in London to be exact, where the second Café Leon Dore, after the one in New York, has also been built inside, an establishment that takes inspiration from French cafe culture but especially from Greek cafe culture – Teddy Santis, the founder of Aimé Leon Dore is of Hellenic descent.
The American brand’s London flagship is gorgeous: the dark wood paneling and tasteful furnishings make it a splendid example of how the in-store experience is more alive than ever.
What caught everyone’s attention, however, is a wall at the back of the store, decorated with a grid composed of a series of deflated basketballs. But what exactly are they?
Those old, deflated basketballs on the wall of Aimé Leon Dore’s London flagship are a work of art by New York-based artist Tyrrell Winston, commissioned by Santis himself to create a juxtaposition between the store’s own vintage boutique style and the contemporary nature of the work, while at the same time expressing the visceral bond that ties the brand and the Big Apple in a double-bind.
The work is titled “English Breakfast” and is an extension of Winston’s ius commitment to clean up the streets of cigarette butts, broken baskets and, indeed, old and deflated basketballs and turn them into art, his art.
“I work with universal objects that stretch across cultures and places. I’m re-contextualizing the overlooked in a way that becomes unavoidable“.
The inspirations behind Tyrrell Winston’s work are represented by Marcel Duchamp and Davis Hammons, two artists who made objects found by chance on the street their source of artistic inspiration.
Winston puts viewers in the position of having to confront social and cultural themes and issues by starting with an element such as garbage, changing its meaning through storytelling and the symbolism that exists behind simple objects.
Teddy Santis has been like a mentor to Winston. In fact, after purchasing and exhibiting one of his works in the New York store, the artist came in contact with a Japanese collector who put him in touch with Takashi Murakami, who allowed him to have an exhibition in Tokyo in 2019.
What clearly transpires is that it is no accident that Aimé Leon Dore and Tyrrell Winston have developed this kind of connection: indeed, both explore the beauty, culture, and history of New York through symbols that, though not blatantly, reflect the Big Apple’s unique and distinctive atmosphere.