In order to capture the spirit of legendary artist Alex Katz, Paper Magazine tapped two effortlessly cool influencers for an exclusive fashion story showcasing the new collaboration between Katz and H&M. Sofia Sanchez de Betak, an Argentinian art director and fashion consultant, and architect and interior designer Pari Dust both perfectly channel the timeless chic that's a hallmark of Katz's work. We sat down with Dust and Sanchez de Betak after our shoot to discuss Katz's work, where they like to day dream, and of course, fashion.
It was a lot of fun working with you recently on the photo shoot for the Alex Katz x H&M collection. It was one of those great moments when everyone and everything came together so effortlessly.Which is interesting because Alex's paintings have an effortless ease about them.
SOFIA SANCHEZ DE BETAK: The characters of his paintings always have a special ease on their eyes, you never know what they're thinking about, but you can tell they are comfortable and tranquil.
PARI DUST: Agreed, I think that effortless ease in his work comes from a place of authenticity. The unique visual language that Alex Katz has synthesized in his work resonates out and attracts the same energy.
Can you describe something you enjoy that has an "effortless ease" about it?
PARI DUST: In my work, the point where I step outside myself and chameleon into a character in order to heighten elements of this sensory world I aspire to create.
When I look at Alex Katz's portraits, I often ask myself, "I wonder what that person in the painting is thinking." Where do you like to go to daydream?
SOFIA SANCHEZ DE BETAK: Lol! That's what I was just thinking! I travel! I look up the sky, and get inside of the plane that's flying above me, and imagine who is in that plane, going where and for what... I also eat, I go to a great dinner, and try to remember how delicious that appetizer was!
PARI DUST:Likewise, he does seem to capture these ephemeral moments of mysterious serene. His paintings are reflexive in that way sometimes looking into them they contain a sense of infinity like looking out on the water to the horizon line where all you can see is sky and sea. I like to daydream in nature, I love the forest/trees.
Alex has been an integral part of the NYC art scene for decades.His work can be seen in downtown galleries and major museum collections at the same time.What are some of your favorite places to experience art in NYC?
SOFIA SANCHEZ DE BETAK: I love going to the galleries in the LES (Lower East Side), as well as the MET, it never gets old. If I have the time, I love going to Dia Beacon, my favorite of them all.
PARI DUST: My favorite museum just outside of NYC is Dia: Beacon. The architecture of the space along with the collection and programming is an embodiment of my perfect aesthetic. I also love the new Whitney.
We know that Alex Katz really enjoys Afro Cuban jazz music and that sort served as a soundtrack for this project. What type of music do you like to listen to when you are working or creating?
SOFIA SANCHEZ DE BETAK: I Latin music, at any time of the day. Salsa, cubia, merengue, reggaeton, cha cha cha, and even tango!
PARI DUST: I like electronic, The Knife, DJ Koze, depends on my mood.
Alex once said that, "We define ourselves in the U.S. by clothes and haircuts in each time period."How would you describe your personal style?
SOFIA SANCHEZ DE BETAK: I don't define it. I find it limiting and lazy to do so. I like improvising, depending on my mood, the weather, my recent inspiration, and the place I'm at. I like feeling comfortable, saying I fit into a certain style category feels boring and outdated.
PARI DUST: Architectural, minimal and experimental.
If we think about fashion, it's easy to see how trends, colors, and shapes come and go over time, only to be repeated and celebrated again at a later time.Is there any item in your wardrobe that you've held on to for so long that it's made a come back?
SOFIA SANCHEZ DE BETAK: For sure! I stick to my favorites and wear them for decades: my Turkish kaftans, my souvenir second World War Japanese embroidered jacket, and my wool poncho from Argentina.
PARI DUST: My turquoise bell bottom jeans that I think I will hem so they are more of a cropped, ankle-skimming boot cut situation.
Now that you've had an exclusive look at the Alex Katz x H&M collection before the public has, what are your favorite pieces that you can share with our readers?
SOFIA SANCHEZ DE BETAK: I loved the maxi dresses, I like wearing loose shapes in the summer.
PARI DUST: Ok, I was kind of obsessed with how his works translated on the clothing The splashy colors and the way the layering of the pieces could isolate say an eye underneath a slip dress on the tee. Mad for the hoodies and swimsuit!
Creative Director: Theron Long
Videographer: Wenck Brothers
Hair: John Ruidant using Oribe at See Management
Makeup: Deanna Melluso for Chanel at The Wall Group
Manicurist: Tori Huang at Bryan Bantry Agency
Stylist: Solange Franklin
Stylist Assistant: Kyle Hayes
Set Design: Dane Johnson
All canvases used in the backdrop of this photo shoot were not created by Alex Katz