I first learned of J. Morgan Puett as a student at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She is an alumni of SAIC and while I did not attend The School at the same time as her, she has long been someone whose body of work I hold high up on a pedestal.
J. Morgan Puett’s work spans from architecture and interiors to fashion and art installations. I believe from the center of my core that it is truly incredible work. Just looking at these images while putting this post together makes my heart sing. She lives day in and day out within her artistic expression exploring her involvements with food, shopping, making, styling, gaming, sleeping, reading, and thinking.
J. Morgan Puett is an artist and fashion designer that I have held close to my heart when it comes to being an influence on my personal style. If there was ever perfection in the in-perfection, her body of work is one of the best examples (and most consistent!) I have seen.
During my late teens and early to mid 20’s I wore (almost exclusively) dresses by J. Morgan Puett. The fact that I still wear these amazing pieces 10+ years later is a true testament to the honest construction, beautiful fabrics and timeless designs that she created.
From 1993-1997 she ran “J. Morgan Puett, Inc.,” a project that took the form of a small business in New York City. From 1998-2001 she collaborated on a New York-based experimental, retail-clothing manufacturing project. The designs she made were based both on Early American textiles and contemporary styling. The garments referred to the early age of photography, from turn-of-century erotica to the Depression era.
Long before I moved to New York I would travel to the City and make pilgrimages to her amazing art-installation “shops.” She had 4 or 5 stores (at different times) which were scattered from Soho through Tribeca and the last I recall was on Broadway closer to the Financial District than the heart of Tribeca.
Each and every shop was a collection of her interior design, objects and her statement of the moment. The clothes were for sale in the gallery style space but it was more than just a shopping trip – it was an experience. One shop had leather floors (amazing) another shop had red Georgia dirt covering the floor. I remember an installation where the reproductive parts of a queen bee were embroidered onto sheer silk organza fabric. It was draped on the windows, but also was used in some of the key pieces of her fashion line for the season.
She has made her art the epitome of her life experience and while at some points you might find it a bit extreme … her practice is completely inspirational to me. Want to know more? Last Spring, the New York Times wrote an article featuring J. Morgan Puett’s home and current project called Mildred’s Lane, which is an “ongoing experiment in art, design and aestheticized living.” Also be sure to check out the NYT slideshow associated with the article. This article about J. Morgan Puett by Lucie Young is also a good read.
Take some time to explore the J. Morgan Puett website and more importantly, read about her exploration in “artistic domesticating and collaboration” at the Mildred’s Lane artists’ colony. I’d love to be a fly on the wall at one of those dinners. Maybe I’d even convince her to do a limited run of her favorite fashion designs. *winkwink* I’d sign up for at least three of each piece. I’d wear them everyday long into when I become old and grey… and beyond!