Boutique-meets-gallery owner Andi Potamkin reveals her most revolutionary fashion memory.
Photographer: David Prutting
New Yorker Andi Potamkin went from acting on Broadway to working with fashion, photography and art. Today she is the owner of Three Squares Studio, a hair salon and art gallery in Manhattan. Also, she is co-owner of Kasher|Potamkin– a boutique-meets-gallery– where Andi and her partner, the renowned art dealer Steven Kasher, displays pieces in an intimate, home-like environment. Fashion, furniture, ceramics, sculpture and photography fill the space alongside unique objects d’art.
This week Make it last asks Andi about her views on style.
How would your mom describe your style?
– My mother is the most stylist woman and she’s always taken impeccable care of her clothing. She gives me the most incredible treasures. I mix them in with contemporary designers and wear some really fancy pieces in a quotidian way. She gets a real kick out of seeing her old clothes reworked into my closet.
Name an element that’s typical for your style?
– Tactility… Whether the piece is minimalist cashmere or leather, or maximalist beaded and embroidered, material is very important to me. I love an article that begs to be fondled, for the richness or for the intricacy.
Most revolutionary fashion memory?
– To my high school prom, I wore a dress by Luella for Target. It cost around $35 and my mother lent me some epic Dynasty-style jewelry… A gold and diamond collar, bracelets on both wrists and earrings: all a matching set. It was very 80’s. And I wore these sparkly gold Miu Miu pumps that were covered in crystals. I loved the mixing of high and low, and the incorporation of the unexpected. I honestly don’t remember who my date was, but I remember every aspect of that outfit.
In what way is fashion present in your life?
– Fashion is very important to me. Every morning starts by going into my closet with a cup of coffee and my calendar and I ask myself, “Who am I today?”. I like to dress the part. An outfit can be costume or it can be armor. If you know how to use fashion to your advantage, it can be an incredibly rewarding tool.
How do you promote more sustainable fashion for someone who says she’s not into it?
– Sharing clothing with friends and family is a good place to start. I guess that is a form of recycling… If I have a piece that I love but I don’t wear often, I’ll lend it out to a friend who will give it some excitement. Clothing needs to be taken out on the town every once in a while, like a woman I appreciate lines who take the effort to make their clothing in America like The Row and Baja East. And if anyone ever says that sustainable clothing can’t be chic, I’ll just walk them into the nearest Stella McCartney store.
How do you reason when you shop for clothes or beauty products?
– I oscillate between minimalism and maximalism, so I have a different state of mind when shopping for each:
Minimalism: I believe in cost-per-wear. If I buy an item for $100 and wear it once, and I buy another item for $1,000 and wear it ten times, those two pieces cost the same in cost-per-wear analysis. So I try and buy things that are timeless and well-made.
Maximalism: I also like exciting clothing, ”wearable art” that gives me butterflies when I see it. I think of this type of clothing as collectable pieces that will be just as special in ten years as they are today, even if they are too crazy to wear often.
What’s the best advice about how to live life in better balance with nature that you’ve ever been given?
– A dear client of mine introduced me to Japanese aesthetic of Wabi-sabi, which describes beauty as imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete. He collects Burri, Fontana and Shiraga: artists who embody this aesthetic. I’ve since read many books on the study and it’s certainly given me more balance and peace in my life. I highly suggest Wabi-sabi for Artists, Designer, Poets & Philosophers.
If you had a billboard on Oxford Circus that all the shopping crazy people could see, what would you write on it?
– Buy something you’ll want to give your daughter one day.
Give us a few practical tips on how to make our lifestyles more sustainable!
– Try to buy local whenever you can: local food, local flowers, locally made goods by local artisans… A lot of energy is used in transporting goods long distances. And there is a sense of pride in supporting your community’s industries.
What is your best sustainable / eco-friendly / long term justifiable product?
– I have been seeing holistic facialist and reiki practitioner Negin Niknejad for almost five years and I couldn’t be more in love with her. Her products, JustBe, are all organic, raw and handmade. Negin has the most heavenly energy and I always leave glowing. It’s important to invest in your face… You wear it every day.
Who is your style icon?
– I’m going to be shameless here and say two of my friends. Erica Pelosini Leeman embodies sprezzatura (the Italian word for making glamour look effortless). She puts together these looks that are complex, but fresh and airy. And no matter what she wears, she works it. Erica plays to the maximalist part of my heart. Claire Distenfeld who owns FiveStory in New York, is my go-to for inspiration and her store is one of my favorite boutiques in the whole world. Claire reminds me of Charlotte Rampling and she knows cut and fabric better than anyone. Claire’s look is all about the play between strength and delicacy, femininity and masculinity, and I find her entrancing. Claire plays to the minimalist part of my heart.
Favorite fashion-person on Instagram?
– Pari Ehsan, who runs @Paridust, a fashion-meets-art blog. I think she is an absolute genius. @VioletGrey for the beauty inspiration and knowledge. And @BessNYC4 for fashion inspired collages that range the gamut from sexy to creepy to hilarious.
Do you have a favorite website or instagram account that you would recommend?
FACTS ABOUT ANDI:
Name: Andi Potamkin
Occupation: curator and art dealer
Current projects in life: Owner of Three Squares Studio, a hair salon and art gallery in Manhattan; Writer for L’Oeil de la Photographie and Glitterati Incorperated; curator for World Wide Women Collective; planning my November 2015 wedding
Motto in life: Happiness above all.
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