I spent an entertaining 10 minutes perusing the FIDM gallery gift shop while Judy was in a meeting. Chunky jewelry, coffee cups gone green, and some wonderfully funky little stuffed animals had me so entranced I barely noticed when Judy arrived. I was engulfed in mismatched fabrics and patched on eyes when she walked towards me and shook my hand. We began our tour of the recent show taken down. She reyed a particularly gripping story about this professor and artist, I snapped a few shots and we headed back to the store, where the interview took on a lighter tone.
We began at the jewelry, discussing L.A. artists that show and sell there, along side the alumni whose pieces were proudly displayed. Judy explained that the store was in constant flux, “relating to exhibitions, relating to disciplines in the college.” The set up we were currently perusing would be replaced by all things Wizard come the first week in June to coincide with FIDM’s show and private opening celebrating the film’s 70th anniversary. She talked excitedly about the 7- story balloon that would be outside with ruby slippers on it. She clued me in on the line Tarina Tarantino is designing for the event. Tarantino’s jewelry is a mixture of sophistication and whimsy featuring childhood markers such as Barbie and Hello Kitty. A line devoted to the Wizard of Oz from this particular artist should be nothing less that spectacular. The show is open to the public June 10th so be sure to stop by the Museum Store and take a look at Tarantino’s new creations.
We moved on to admire the work of Chan Luu and Lauren Schaefer Green, a successful L.A. artist who hired a FIDM alum that is now currently designing the new line. This was a launching pad for opportunity, bringing successful designers together with graduates to give their students a fighting chance out of the gate.
She showed me a new line of Bluetooth leashes, an idea I instantly latched onto. When I leave my car I have to shut it off, pull my security device, turn off the lights, grab my GPS, lock and leave. I have enough to keep track of for being as forgetful as I am. A leash to keep my Bluetooth close to me is perfect. Mental note: buy one of these.
We moved on to the more eclectic wall of the shop, where the goodies were unending, and my little stuffed friends sat smiling crookedly above us. As Judy spoke about the students and graduates I transformed into serious shopping mode. I picked up a retro ice bag with a funky print and convinced myself I needed that to heal my recently rolled ankle. I saw pillowcases I had seen at Urban Outfitters that I just had to have, no real reason presented itself. I inspected the “I’m Not a Paper Cup” cup, and thought, brilliant. I can still look trendy and have a white coffee cup, down to the lid, but it is ceramic. It will keep my coffee hot, I will be uber-trendy, and green. “This is one of our best sellers on our website,” Judy informed me, snapping me out of my shopping trance. “This and our thumb wrestling masks. Now we have a lot of things on our website and that is our best seller, thumb wrestling masks!” These masks were hilarious and I strongly recommend you take a peek. https://thefidmmuseumstore.org. They are under accessories, unisex. You will get a laugh, I promise.
Judy began to walk away from this wall towards the windows and my eyes lingered on the stuffed animals, Les Deglingos. Nonos the Dog was calling my name, for my niece of course. When shopping, I have a pretty good barometer for what I need and what I don’t. I let the want wash over me and consume me for the moment, but when it comes to purchasing, I have a healthy amount of self- control. But these little creatures just put a mute on my control button.
I reluctantly followed Judy who took me to these beautiful lace bracelets. They were substantial but delicate and just the right touch of girly. Ok, now, I wanted one of those. This interview was making me see red, but for a moment, I forgot about Nono. “These bracelets were done by women in Sri Lanka who lost their homes in the tsunami,” Judy explained as she handled the pieces with care. The proceeds from the FIDM sales went back to these beautifully creative women. We set down the bracelets and headed toward the ‘downtown’ corner. “We are really trying to offer them (people coming into L.A.) some opportunities to cultivate downtown.” I looked over the array of downtown guides, architecture maps, and photo books. It struck me how unexpected but important it was for L.A.’s major fashion school to grow an interest in its’ city. We talk a lot about the changing face of downtown, but here it was palpable, set up in a corner of FIDM’s gallery store.
I thanked Judy kindly for her time and headed out, excited to return for the Warner Brother’s Wizard of Oz party. Really excited. As I trekked the few blocks home mulling over the multitude that was unwrapped at FIDM just from simply inquiring about a show, Nono’s button eyes resurfaced in my mind and I resolved, I had to buy him, for my niece, of course.