Q + A with Pari Dust

Art and fashion, two entities different in many ways but so parallel in others. Magnetic in their own right, together they ignite an even brighter force. This force is the subject of Pari Dust, an art and fashion blog that has caught the attention of many notables in the art and fashion world, not to mention gained an overwhelming following. Her ability to seek out art that moves us and combine it with the likes of Valentino, Versace, Missoni is awe inspiring.  It’s a bit like a dream.  A dream where the two dance merrily together, light on their feet, with absolute precision.  I had the pleasure of witnessing this dance during Pari’s most recent photo shoot at The Miller House in Columbus IN.   The setting, beautiful.  The clothing, jaw dropping.  The experience, once in a lifetime.  Pari sat down with me afterwards to answer a few questions.  Questions that have been burning in my mind since first discovering her over a year ago.  I hope you will enjoy her genius as much as I do.

LW: So you are originally from Southern Indiana. Tell me about growing up here.

PD: I am, I grew up in Floyds Knobs. The thing I loved about growing up here is that people are genuine, and that is something I deeply value. I always knew though that I wanted to live in a bigger city.

LW: Have you always been inspired by art and fashion?

PD: Always, I have been obsessed with clothes and art for as long as I can remember. Fashion for me is a very important form of self expression and art has the power of transcendence, to take me out of my head and into the moment and possibly shift my entire perspective.

LW: Which interests you more?

PD: If I take it to an extreme place and I had to be naked for the rest of my life but be surrounded by art I’d choose that.

LW: You have a degree in architecture. Tell me about where you went to school and why you chose this as your major?

PD: For me at the time it was about getting as close as possible to what I loved while fulfilling my parent’s expectations. I was not as in touch with myself at that point and the idea of doing something purely fashion or art was dismissed. I have no regrets though, I use what I learned in architecture school every day. Ultimately, I see the world with that compositional eye.

LW: How did you hear about the Miller House? What inspired you to shoot here?

PD: I learned about the architectural significance of Columbus, Indiana in architecture school. I could not believe that I had lived an hour from this place my entire life yet never engaged with all the cultural gems there. It has been on my periphery ever since. The Miller House is somewhat of a dream as three masterminds of the time came together, Eero Saarinen, Alexander Girard and Dan Kiley. Part of my vision is to discover and share these unique places, perhaps compelling someone to go see for themselves or to learn more.

LW: When did you decide to start your blog? And how did the idea of pairing art and fashion come to be?

PD: It had been on my mind for a while that I wanted to find a way to explore the interactions between my two original loves. Two years ago when I started my own Interior Design firm I began experimenting with the concept through collage. An interior design client collected fashion magazines as well as art and design magazines so I used these magazine tear outs to find imagery with a similar feeling and collaged them on top of each other. One day I was going to take a portrait for my interior design website, we decided to go to the galleries in Chelsea and the jacket I was wearing complimented a Helen Frankenthaler painting perfectly, the idea stuck and spiraled from there.

LW: Does the art inspire the fashion or vice versa?

PD: It can work both ways but most often the art is a catalyst for the fashion pairing.

LW: Can you tell us about your process? Maybe walk me through a concept from start to finish?

PD: I try to go out and see as much art as I can and when I see an installation or a piece that gives me an emotional response or makes me feel something, it’s then that I feel inspired to create a pairing. I pull out elements such as color, texture and form and try to capture the overall feeling and add another layer of depth through the styling. It is a very intuitive process, sometimes I have an idea right away of what the dream pairing would be and other times I am led to a place that I hadn’t initially expected.

LW: Take us back to your first photo shoot for the blog? Where was it and what did you wear?

PD: It was on the Roof of the Met for Imran Qureshi, I was wearing a Milly lace collared top and an Alice & Olivia lavender leather skirt with Proenza Schouler silver sandals.

LW: After having followed you for some time now, I see that you wear many designer labels. What is your strategy on finding designer clothing?

PD: Most of the clothing I wear is pulled from the designer specifically for the shoot. I wish I could say it was mine. I stalk style.com as well as Instagram and the word on the street for emerging designers.

LW: Secondly, did you make relationships with designers and retailers before you started the blog or after the blog became a success?

PD: I had a few but most came after.

LW: How would you describe your own personal style?

PD: Minimal, experimental and architectural.

LW: Have you ever considered fashion design?

PD: When the time is right yes I would love to design something, I think menswear could be very interesting to explore.

LW: What do you enjoy most about being a blogger?

PD: Every day is different, my life is spontaneous and full of discovery and I’m surrounded by visionary people.

LW: What do you dislike?

PD: It’s hard for me to unplug.

LW: What’s your advice for people who want to make a living as a blogger?

PD: Find something that speaks to you, envision what you want to create and be specific about the way you manifest it, add value, be it a laugh or something new for someone to discover. The rest will come.

LW: What are some of your favorite blogs/instagram accounts to follow?

PD: @isabelitavirtual, @beyondthemag, @sickymagazine, @dailyoverview, @tom.hancocks, @artxdesign, @landonnordeman, @kunstsammler

LW: If you could pick your top three photo shoots since starting your blog what would they be?

PD: Tom Wesselmann’s studio for Nars, Jacob Hashimoto @ Mary Boone Gallery in Chanel Couture, & Sterling Ruby at Hauser & Wirth in Valentino

LW: Since you are now a New York City resident, how would you describe Indianapolis now compared to when you were growing up?

PD: I think that places are most characterized by their people and I am always struck by the warmth and engagement that surrounds me when I come home to Indiana.

LW: Lastly, what advice do you have for creative Hoosiers who are interested in staying here and working as artists?

PD: Social media offers a tremendous value to artists in that they can share their work and engage with other creatives, collectors and curators all over the world. The potential to convey a certain aesthetic or idea and have it alchemize is more powerful now than ever.

Header image by Kelly Smith

Makeup and hair by Nick Carter @ Joseph’s Salon and Spa

Peter Pilotto skirt and woven top, Peter Pilotto boots, Maria Black earrings

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