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Stephen Sprouse

After surprisingly declaring bankruptcy in 1985, designer and visionaire Stephen Sprouse opened a three floor flagship store on Wooster in 1987. (which later continued in its arts roots by being a brief home to Peter Blum Gallery). Sprouse had a long history of art/fashion crossover, becoming famous for fusing punk and uptown influences, and collaborating with Andy Warhol (creating a line with Warhol’s camouflage print) and with Keith Haring (both fabrics and graffiti-infused Jesus screen prints.) The store transformed a former fire house, setting its future life of retail. From the NY Times in 1987:



“The garage doors of the store, a former firehouse, will open onto its most prominent interior feature, a two-sided 10-by-12-foot ”video wall.” Beyond, three Sprouse collections will be divided by floor, with prices rising from the ground floor’s low-cost SS-label line to the high-priced Stephen Sprouse line on the third floor.


On each floor will be accessories, including a variety of hats, fish-net and print gloves and tights, and, for both men and women, pointy-toed boots with high heels and punky jewelry shaped like safety pins and graffiti. Small items will be packaged in clear plastic squares resembling record sleeves.”

Sprouse was so much more than a designer, but also a downtown fixture. In the 1970s and 80s, Sprouse designed clothes for his Bowery area neighbor, Debbie Harry, and also dressed Duran Duran. Steve Buscemi even played a Sprouse-inspired character in Tama Janowitz’s film , “Slaves of New York” (one of my FAVORITES).
I remember when Sprouse died in 2004 of heart failure. It was one of those moments where the creative spirit across the world collectively felt the loss. Other than Alexander McQueen, there aren’t as many designers who push the limits between art and fashion like Sprouse did. Deitch Projects agreed, doing a Sprouse retrospective in 2009.
Who: Stephen Sprouse
What: Flagship Store (later Peter Blum Gallery)
Where: 99 Wooster Street
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  1. […] murals/rooms for the club.  Kenny said they all attained a lot of success ALL at once hence this complimentary Stephen Sprouse jumpsuit (featured above) he couldn’t remember if this picture was from a magazine photo shoot about […]

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