Stephen Sprouse's Lost Sketches
The late fashion designer Stephen Sprouse's legacy endures, not just in the form of the recently-resurrected Marc Jacobs/Louis Vuitton collaboration and the launch of the book "The Life of Stephen Sprouse" in January, but also with the discovery of a cache of sketches lost for over a decade at the Chateau Marmont. The story of how the drawings ended up there is a peek into the designer's life and the era.
Born in the small industrial town of Dayton, Ohio, fashion designer Stephen Sprouse made his way into NYC's giant fashion industry by working as a photographer and documenting the shift in the city's music scene from glam rock to punk. By the early '80s Sprouse was a fixture among the crowd of musicians and artists, designing stage costumes for his neighbor Debby Harry and contributing to Interview Magazine, run by friend and mentor Andy Warhol.
Inspired by the the eye-catching neon colors favored by subway graffiti artists, Sprouse astounded editors, buyers and trend junkies alike with his collection of day-glo, graffiti-print patterns, which quickly trickled down to mainstream fashion.
Despite all his artistic success, Sprouse's finances were on the decline and by 1991 he was unable to pay for his month-long stay at L.A.'s famed Chateau Marmont. In exchange for his bill, owner and art enthusiast André Balazs agreed to let him off the hook if Sprouse designed some apparel for the hotel. The original sketches he drew for the project surfaced a few weeks ago, after years of storage in the hotel's attic. The six never-seen-before sketches are all signed and dated and CH is lucky enough to have an exclusive on one of them. The exciting find even thrilled Balazs, who had not seen the sketches since their completion.
While the sketches will not be on public display, the Marmont is honoring Sprouse and his work with a postcard (above image), available from the hotel.