Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Collectors: NYC Fashion Guru and Scholar is Obsessed With Asian Art

By Dan Shaw
At Home With the Director of the Museum of the Fashion Institute of Technology
NEW YORK---Valerie Steele approaches fashion as if it were rocket science. At home in the Chelsea neighborhood of New York, Ms. Steele reveals another intellectual and aesthetic obsession, with Asian art and design. The front half of her midblock loft resembles a fastidious opium den. It has two canopied Chinese marriage beds festooned with dragons and interior cabinets “for rhino horns and other aphrodisiacs.” There are statues of Ganesha, “the elephant-headed Hindu god that removes obstacles in your way,” she said, and Shiva Nataraja, a depiction of another Hindu god, whom she described as “dancing the world into existence,” as well as an extensive collection of Indonesian textiles and folk art. [link]