By Quyn Duong, November 2015
She took the risks. She snuck into art galleries, she scaled the High Line, but the hardest of them all, she found her creative vision and exposed it to the world. And now the world's renowned fashion labels like Maison Valentino and Oscar de la Renta are calling her to create more art with their pieces (works of art in and of themselves). So who is this girl and what exactly is she doing? Meet Pari Ehsan, the creative director behind internet sensation Paridust. An ex-ballerina and architect, Pari explores the connection between fashion and art. The relationship between her coordinated outfits to the carefully chosen art is at once beautifully simple and stark. The outfits do not compete with the artwork, or vice versa.
So when Pari got together with The LANE, a wedding blog with a fashion editorial twist, the result is something of our dreams. Her latest collaboration features a special art installation by Kim Keever at Sky Gallery and a gown by Marchesa. Below is an interview with the LANE's Emma Crowther candidly speaking with Pari over dream weddings and getting over the hurdle of finding your voice.
This interview originally appears on The LANE.
For those of you who don’t know you, give me your two line elevator pitch?
My website and Instagram (@paridust) is one that educates readers, on art, through the lens of fashion.
You’ve practiced that! Haha. So when was your lightbulb moment? Did you have a plan, was your career born from an idea... did you follow something…what happened?
So I had been thinking about starting a website for sometime, I was making collages through old magazine tears, pairing images of architecture and old editorial fashion images…but, my lightbulb moment was when I was accidentally matching a Helen Frankenthaler painting at the Gagosian and that was it, that was my moment, that was the idea.
Is it true that when you started out you used to break into museums (when they were open of course) and pose in front of the photos without permission in crazy hair, crazy makeup, fabulous clothes?!
I did! I did because I knew it was the only way I was going to be able to create the image. The art world is so sensitive I knew it was the only way. I didn’t have any previous work to show them or reference so I just went for it. I think one of the weirdest break-ins I did was when I climbed into the 3rd phase of The Highline to shoot Carol Bove sculptures and I literally scaled the side of a construction site and hopped the fence at 6am.
Wow so you’re a gymnast, turned ballet dancer, turned yogi. I can completely picture it!
Ha ha. I had to help my photographer.
What influence do you feel that art can have for weddings in terms of styling, aesthetic, dress choice and textiles?
I love the idea of art inspiring weddings. I think it lends itself towards doing so. You could do it in multiple ways, you could pick a piece or a period and place focus on the textures, colours, the mood and work off that for inspiration. I think it’s be so cool to do an installation wedding - inspired by someone like Dan Flavin - make it all about these fluorescent lights and the mood of it…then your wedding becomes like a performance installation piece.
That would be incredible. I was just looking at a Rothschild’s Illuminati party from 1972 as Halloween inspiration and I think, dream dream wedding.
YES!!! That’s so cool!
Tell us about your dream wedding?
Ha. I already know! My dream place to get married is Dia Beacon …
I don’t know that they do weddings, you have to convince them! But that would be amazing!
They’re going to do mine! It contains art from everyone… Dan Flavin to Donald Judd… a lot of minimalists and the building is an old factory…
A cookie factory, I think?
It could be a cookie factory! Something random, but the space is so raw and so beautiful. Taking those minimalists as inspiration, I’d like to do something incredibly architectural.
Dream wedding dress?
That’s a hard question. I’ve always pictured a rose lace dress, semi see-through…go figure! ha ha.
Dream ring? Your boyfriend asked me to include this…(jokes)
No he didn’t! I know that for sure. But I would love something designed or picked out for me…whether that’s an heirloom piece or something that they have created on their own. I don’t want to be involved in the process at all. I just want it to be, ‘Here, I think that you might like this..’ and if they are the one I’m with I’ll be like, ‘Okay’ (definitive)…ha ha.
Are there any famous art jewelers that you are drawn to?
Actually it’s so funny that you say that. There’s this artist, Karl Fritsch, that has a retrospective show on right now at Salon 94 and his pieces are just incredible - one of a kind pieces - like sculpture…delicate but some super gaudy.
Where is Salon 94?
It’s uptown… (at 12 E 94th St, New York, NY)
You're such an amazing inspiration, following dreams, trusting your gut, taking risks….As Frank Sinatra said of NYC, ‘If I can make it here, I can make it anywhere’? (Both laugh) You’ve certainly made it in NY doing what you love. What would your advice to our generation be regarding bringing your dreams to life?
I think you have to get in touch with yourself, really mediate on who you are and what you want to give to the world, what you want to create. I think that almost means living in a vacuum and not looking at other people so much as tapping into what you are innately drawn to. For me it was totally the case of following what I love and making something of it. Something weird and maybe something off, but really, anything that you do that’s a true expression of yourself will succeed because people see that and are drawn to it.
And what it is that you want to leave the world with?
I love the idea of igniting people to discover something. Whether that’s discovering now designers or artists or something about themselves. I mean, for me, I look to people to blaze a trail. Even if it’s a bit odd, I look to people who give it their all. People who aren’t afraid to put it out there. You might be scared but I think it’s important to make yourself feel uncomfortable for the things that matter to you.
What do you do daily that gets you through those scary moments, makes you brave enough to do that?
I meditate for at least 20 mins every day. Before I started my website I had this fear of exposing myself or making myself vulnerable on a larger level. Meditation gave me the ability to break through, to take me to the next level.
Well, we're certainly inspired by your work, and talking about being on the next level…as an influencer do you have any thoughts or advice in reference to the industry we are in?
I think it’s just so important to do your own thing. Everyone is different so it makes sense that there would be a variety of people who like different things and express themselves in different ways. It’s so easy to be oversaturated and forget about what you really like…a bit of a brainwash. Being in this industry is addictive and so it’s important to get away from it all to have the space to get in touch with yourself.
The philosophy I’m hearing in all this is really, just be YOU…
Absolutely. Yes! BE YOU.
Okay, now to finish things up, let's play a word game. First thing that comes to mind…Favourite colour?
Yves Klein Blue.
Oh, ‘Dior and I’ with Raf Simons.
One word to describe you?
Paridust the website?
Biggest rookie move?
Wearing the same outfit to an event where you’d be photographed two days in a row.
Oh, how could you?! Laughs (said in jest).
Ha ha. I know.
Fun fact about Pari the artist?
Whenever I do my shoots, I don’t feel like me. I feel like a character stepping outside myself.
So who did you think you were in the Kim Keever shoot (Wearing Marchesa)?
An odd fairy.
The Glass House shoot (Wearing Vera Wang)?
A pristine housewife.
Best first date?
That would be with Jason (her boyfriend). We went to an open studio, we saw art together, picked up some artist friends then went to dinner and a rave until super late…ha ha. Then I went home.
Explain NYC in a word.
Advice to couples?
I don’t know that I should be the one giving advice. As much as I am an idealist, I think relationships take work. I have to remind myself of that everyday, so, I would say compromise.
‘Wow’ factor moment?
When the creative director of Del Pozo came up to me. I was wearing one of his dresses and he told me how beautiful I looked and what an inspiration I was and I almost died because he’s one of the people I admire and look to the most.