Stephen Sprouse Lives On

A new year, a new beginning—or, in this case, a look back in time. The late fashion designer and man about (Down)town Stephen Sprouse is getting his creative due this January with the publication of Mauricio and Roger Padilha’s retrospective book on his life, The Stephen Sprouse Book.

Sprouse (1953-2004) was a designer and artist credited with pioneering the ’80s mix of “uptown sophistication in clothing with a Downtown punk and pop sensibility.” Thanks to his inventive, enigmatic and supremely creative style, Sprouse was the toast of the New York fashion scene and soon became a global phenomenon. Of his innovation, the authors observe: “He was the first to look to the streets for inspiration and bring it to high fashion.” Sprouse manipulated conventional notions of style, and his unique sensibility has inspired designers from John Galliano to Raf Simons and Marc Jacobs. Even if you know nothing of his early Day-Glo designs, velcro closure and Downtown club runway shows, you will recognize his 2001 graffiti sprayed bags for Louis Vuitton.

The authors run MAO Public Relations, MAO SPACE, a series of runway shows and publish MAO MAG, a bi-annual fashion magazine. This book—which they call a “labor of love”—is a manifestation of their long-held affection and admiration of the designer. The Padilhas have succeeded in making a book that many people believe was made by Sprouse himself—it transcends fashion, entering into the realms of art, advertising, general design, music and other creative pursuits.

To complete the volume, the Padilhas were granted exclusive access to Sprouse’s archives and obtained many never-before-seen works of art, photographs and sketches as well as interviews with his colleagues, friends and family. Among his famous cohorts, we see Marc Jacobs, Debbie Harry, Anna Sui, Kate Moss, Iggy Pop, Andy Warhol, Francesco Scavullo, Lisa Stein and Max Vadukul.

The book is available from as well as Barnes and Noble with four different jackets, each featuring a different Day-Glo color in homage to Sprouse’s iconic album cover for Debbie Harry’s Rockbird. Additionally, a special limited edition copy with a Louis Vuitton cover is on sale at Louis Vuitton boutiques worldwide.

For more information on the current Sprouse-themed festivities, check out our coverage of Deitch Gallery‘s recent party, or head over to Atelier New York tonight, where they’ll be hosting a book party with guests such as Debbie Harry.

—Candice Rafferty

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