KUZYK Profile | Patti Smith + Robert Mapplethorpe, the Energy of Connection

November 20, 2021 | Elizabeth Kuzyk

Patti Smith is someone I have always been drawn to. I have spent hours watching interviews of her, speaking and performing throughout New York. Her work, her writing, the way she carries herself and navigates through life conveys total ease. Patti Smith is shy and allows herself to be vulnerable. She is graceful in her own messy way.  I gravitate towards people like her - the free spirits, the scrappy adventurers, and the curious ones - artists, poets, and thinkers.

When designing this collection, I thought a lot about Patti and her friendship with Robert Mapplethorpe, and their life in New York City in the 70’s. I love the stories of how they met - the feeling of destiny and deep connection involved. The first time Patti met Robert, in Brooklyn, she discovered him, recalling the moment saying it was like looking at a shepherd boy - a slender framed boy with masses of dark curly hair peacefully sleeping. When he woke up, looked at her smiling. Patti says she felt like they had found each other. That they were always destined to be together.

After several other unexpected meetings, the story of their deep love and unconditional friendship began. They magnified each other and lit each other up, working together on drawings and collages; Patti would read Robert French literature, and Robert would share tantric and erotic art with her. 

When thinking about the new collection, I really wanted to tap into the energy of their connection. The playful energy, the freedom, the scrambling around New York City, the scrappiness. I imagined them sharing these pieces, and passing them back and forth. I want the clothing I create to feel protective and brave - to create confidence and ease.