Jimmy Choo, Rob Pruitt Combine on $15,000 Panda Clutches

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Photographer: Andrea Blanch/Jimmy Choo via Bloomberg

Artist Rob Pruitt. He just collaborated with Jimmy Choo on a collection of accessories, currently available in stores.

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Photographer: Andrea Blanch/Jimmy Choo via Bloomberg

Artist Rob Pruitt. He just collaborated with Jimmy Choo on a collection of accessories, currently available in stores. Close

Artist Rob Pruitt. He just collaborated with Jimmy Choo on a collection of accessories, currently available in stores.

Photographer: Lili Rosboch/Bloomberg

Some of Rob Pruitt's designs for Jimmy Choo. On the left, the high-heeled Diffuse ($1,095) and the Ling-Ling tote bag ($1,225); on the right, the Maui jelly sandal ($250) and the Nicolino wallet ($625). Close

Some of Rob Pruitt's designs for Jimmy Choo. On the left, the high-heeled Diffuse ($1,095) and the Ling-Ling tote bag... Read More

Photographer: Lili Rosboch/Bloomberg

Jimmy Choo's signature Wheel slipper designed by Rob Pruitt ($850). The artist's famous panda is embroidered on the shoe. Close

Jimmy Choo's signature Wheel slipper designed by Rob Pruitt ($850). The artist's famous panda is embroidered on the shoe.

Photographer: Lili Rosboch/Bloomberg

The Sprinkle wedge ($1095) and Cayla clutch ($1350) designed by Rob Pruitt for Jimmy Choo. Close

The Sprinkle wedge ($1095) and Cayla clutch ($1350) designed by Rob Pruitt for Jimmy Choo.

Photographer: Lili Rosboch/Bloomberg

Rob Pruitt's Anouk pump ($950), Sweetie clutch ($895) and Saya silk scarf ($175). Pruitt had a cruise in mind when he designed his collection for Jimmy Choo. Close

Rob Pruitt's Anouk pump ($950), Sweetie clutch ($895) and Saya silk scarf ($175). Pruitt had a cruise in mind when he... Read More

Photographer: Lili Rosboch/Bloomberg

Some of Rob Pruitt's creations for Jimmy Choo. On the right is the Tickle shoe ($895), featuring zebra-print glitter heels and marabou feathers. Close

Some of Rob Pruitt's creations for Jimmy Choo. On the right is the Tickle shoe ($895), featuring zebra-print glitter... Read More

Source: Jimmy Choo via Bloomberg

The Angel and Devil limited-edition clutches designed by Rob Pruitt for Jimmy Choo. Each bag ($15,000) is one of 14 and features more than 11,000 Swarovski crystals. Close

The Angel and Devil limited-edition clutches designed by Rob Pruitt for Jimmy Choo. Each bag ($15,000) is one of 14... Read More

U.S. artist Rob Pruitt’s new designs for cult brand Jimmy Choo bring the bling to zoology.

They include leopard-print patent-leather wallets, zebra- patterned high heels and $15,000 limited-edition panda clutches decorated with more than 11,000 Swarovski crystals.

Pruitt is known for concocting the Oscar-like Art Awards and fashioning the 7-foot-tall Warhol tribute called “The Andy Monument,” commissioned by the Public Art Fund.

I spoke with him over tea at Leitzes & Co, a New York marketing and consulting company that represents him in the collaboration.

Rosboch: How did you react when Jimmy Choo approached you?

Pruitt: It was one of the best offers I’d ever gotten.

I think that my art really comes alive when it’s activated in these kinds of ways. I would feel terribly sad if it only had an existence on the walls of galleries and, hopefully, museums.

Rosboch: What did you have in mind when you started working on the collection?

Pruitt: When the invitation came, it was about making a collection for cruise wear. So I was thinking about most of the winter still ahead and a cruise being like a moment to fly somewhere tropical and be somebody that you haven’t necessarily been before.

That’s why the collection looks the way it looks, with all those hot colors and clashing designs.

Rosboch: You were also inspired by your own work?

Panda Project

Pruitt: More recent works. The gradient motif which is on the bottom of most of the shoes comes directly from a series of paintings of abstract faces.

Then there’s the panda project that started as this wild animal that needed protection and became an international symbol of youth and pop culture.

Rosboch: Did you think the collaboration would help promote your work?

Pruitt: I didn’t really think about whether it would help or hurt the paintings. I did it for myself. I thought it would be great to take their iconography and get it out on the street.

Rosboch: Is there another designer you’d like to work with?

Pruitt: Two summers ago I was invited to a party on the Missoni yacht and I was so inspired by the way it looked, so easy, comfortable and elegant, that I thought these are people I would like to get to know better and work on a project with. I would also love to work with Marc Jacobs.

Rosboch: Will you ask them?

Pruitt: I tend to wait to be asked. Even for my art career, I never ask an art dealer if I can have a show.

Rosboch: Why is that?

Gauging Success

Pruitt: I suppose it’s a way for me to gauge how successful what I’m doing is. If no one is asking then that makes me think that I need to work a little harder.

Rosboch: Would you ever consider becoming a fashion designer?

Pruitt: Sure. Life is long and there are a lot of hours in the day. There’s always time to do more.

Rosboch: But you wouldn’t give up painting?

Pruitt: No, I don’t think I could. I might get thrown out of the art world, but I will never give it up.

Rosboch: Do you think fashion’s on the same level as art?

Pruitt: I think they’re equal but different. They’re not going to build temples to fashion, but the level of creative talent involved is probably not that different from the art world. It’s just that it’s disposable.

I’d like a woman to buy a pair of these shoes and just wear them once and then put them on a pedestal or shelf. It’s an idea that makes me smile.

(Lili Rosboch writes for Muse, the arts and leisure section of Bloomberg News. Any opinions expressed are her own. This interview was adapted from a longer conversation.)

Muse highlights include Elin McCoy on wine, Zinta Lundborg on books.

To contact the reporter on this story: Lili Rosboch in New York erosboch2@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Manuela Hoelterhoff at mhoelterhoff@bloomberg.net.

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