Business and the Arts – Absolut Vodka sponsors works by artists and fashion designers

Business and the Arts – Absolut Vodka sponsors works by artists and fashion designers – Brief Article

Who knew that when Absolut began commissioning works of art by African Americans the results would be stunning? Last year, artists Valerie Maynard, Chevelle Moore, Anita Philyaw and Preston Sampson committed to canvas entrancing scenes that effectively masked the one peculiarity that they all shared: Each painting somehow incorporated the Absolut vodka bottle. The series, which toured the United States in 1999, is called “Absolut Expressions.”

This year, Absolut has commissioned fashions by leading African designers, and a fashion show of those designs is touring the country. Nine designers from seven countries–Alphadi, from Niger; Colic Sow Ardo, from Senegal; Dasha, from Senegal; dou Couture, from Mali; Katoucha, from Guinea; Mickael Kra, from the Ivory Coast; Nasal Al Assay, from the Ivory Coast; Pathe O, from Burkina Faso; and Pepita D, from Benin–were asked to draw upon the traditions of their homeland. The fashions they conceived–which now belong to the Absolut Africa Collection–range from the refined to the outlandish. All of the designs, however, are contemporary, colorful, eye-catching and appealing.

At the Washington, D.C., fashion show in May, Absolut Africa also

showcased the 2000 collection of local designer Earle R. Bannister, who has designed wardrobes for television shows on NBC, Fox and BET. The fashion show ended with “Absolut Bannister,” an aristocratic ensemble for men, with black high-waisted trousers, a full-length blue silk overcoat, a contrasting white vest, and a high-necked ascot emblazoned with Absolut’s logo.

The fashion tour continues in Philadelphia, Chicago and Atlanta. Call (212) 572-7974 for more details.

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