Meet WIFE NYC

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We learned about WIFE NYC when we visited the Paperless Post/Rifle Paper pop up shop in NYC this past fall and their installation filled with massive and beautiful crepe flowers was entrancing.  Their work was so stunning that we knew we had to find a way to work with them, and The CurvyCon 2016 was the perfect occasion. Read more about Alex Crowder and Sophie Parker, the masterminds behind the pineapple-tastic installation in The CurvyCon Platinum Suite, below!

What drew you to start making big, wild display pieces? It's really hard to imagine a life where we aren't making something together. It just seems so natural for us, ya know? It's that rush of figuring out how to bring an idea to life. So two years ago we decided to make it official and started this little company, WIFE, and it's been so fun watching it grow and grow. We went from doing small installations and floral work to a full-scale creative content agency. We get to design and fabricate big set pieces and style editorial work and make wild botanical compositions. Basically, we follow the tune of our imaginations - it's sort of like we invented our dream jobs.

Alex Crowder_Sophie ParkerHow do you know each other? We grew up together, across the river actually, deep in the Ozark Mountains, so organic forms are kind of a common language for us. Our friendship feels like it goes back to the land and that always shows up in our work somehow. When we moved to New York though, those organic elements partnered with the bold geometry of this place - messy shapes and smooth surfaces found unexpected juxtapositions. We love the meeting point of the botanical with the architectural.

How did you come up with the name WIFE? Being raised out in the Midwest filled us with a really powerful resistance to a lot of traditional expectations placed on women. As smart, creative, loving women we were always fighting against the label "wife material" so we decided to reclaim the word on our own terms. We wanted to make a partnership that was really nurturing and liberating. If you think about it, we're kind of poking fun at parents and past lovers and a whole culture of female standards and their designs for us. We needed to make our own design.

Do you have a philosophy for making? We seek out collaborations. We enjoy letting everyone's imaginations wander into an idea right there with us. Being an artist is liberating.  Knowing that you, can by your own magic and skillful determination, actually make anything you can think of... now that is a powerful feeling.

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Our inspiration: The ladies over at ELOQUII were kind enough to give us a sneak peak of the new summer prints. Sassy fruit, loose expressive brushwork, and vivid colors are right up our alley. Honestly, we couldn't have asked for richer inspiration. The photo booth (at The CurvyCon) needed to be a bold, playful statement that invited the guests to step confidently into frame - and then get silly. Matisse's cut-outs loosely inspired our palette and material choices. The swimming pool piece at the MOMA is so light and free, and his Blue Nude series takes the female form and celebrates curves, motion, and physicality. We proposed a monochrome of blues and suddenly everything clicked. Traditional Japanese origami inspired the construction of the pineapples. We wanted strong yet delicate geometries that would be fun to make.

Materials: Just making the pineapples was a joy. We folded the origami from bristol paper. As the forms came together we got more and more excited. However, it wasn't until we started painting that the full fruity glory hit us all. Side-by-side, the blues were so beautiful, and the origami cast really wonderful shadows. The hand-painted palm trees totally completed the environment. We painted the palms with friends on a Bushwick rooftop at sunset. We all just kept turning to each other in disbelief. Yes, these magic blue palms are growing out of the New York skyline!

IMG_3364How long did it take? We began collaborating with ELOQUII on the project 6 weeks in advance. That time-frame was really ideal because it gave us time to bounce ideas around and prototype different forms and materials. We like to work fast, but since we had extra time to play with ideas, the display could be very intricate while still being fabricated efficiently.

What's next? Through ELOQUII we connected with so many amazing people, especially strong, vibrant women shaping how we understand fashion and beauty. We are so excited to see where our new friendships lead and what fantastic things we end up making!