headshot of Chrissie Miller

Grandlife interviews

CHRISSIE MILLER ON THE ART OF SELF-EXPRESSION

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Chrissie Miller is many things, but above all, she is a conversationalist. Born and raised in New York City, she grew up collecting stories and friendships from the enigmatic people that surrounded her. She quickly became skilled at creatively translating these encounters and experiences into tangible products.

“I think when you grow up in New York, fashion is unavoidable,” she explains. “I studied art and film in college, but I ended up in fashion. I think for what I do now, I am so glad I studied and continue to study all aspects of art and design.”

Transcendental by nature, her work is a collage of her experiences with people, carefully assembled to reflect a life that’s just as colorful professionally as it is personally. “I joke that I collect people the way other people collect, I don’t know, records,” she says.

True to the spirit of a limited exhibition, Chrissie’s interests and endeavors come as quickly as they go, soon to be replaced by a new medium or outlet; a restlessness that serves as an obvious metaphor for the fickleness of trends within the art and fashion industries. This predilection to evolution is exactly what has made her so in demand in a cultural environment that is predisposed to value instant gratification over substance.

In 2002 she created a single t-shirt, which quickly evolved into Sophomorea full collection of men’s and women’s basics with a ’70s vibe. The pieces were worn by all of Chrissie’s close friends on the streets and to parties helping to establish her as a fixture in the fashion industry.

The next phase in her artistic expansion materialized through a collaboration with Pharrell. Together they launched a video series on his YouTube channel, appropriately named “Club Chrissie,” which was also the nickname for her East Village apartment: a meetinghouse for the sundry crew of New Yorkers that knew her. The show was a bridge between her art and the people who inspire it, with guests—among them, jewelry designer, Pamela Love, Chrissie’s famed astrologer mother, Susan, and even Pharrell himself—that boasted talents as diverse as her own.

Last year she worked along Isaac Gindi to launch Next Century—a polished-off, carefully-edited version of the luxury discount mecca and New York City institution, Century 21. Despite the recent return to her roots in fashion, Chrissie refuses to limit her means of self-expression. Her long-standing partnership with Warby Parker has offered her the opportunity to flex every creative muscle she’s developed through her varied pursuits. “I have been working with Warby Parker for the past five years. I just made a music video with them and have been working on a big collaborative project that will come out in October.”

In thinking about dream projects, she says, “I would love to make more music videos. My dream video would be with Stevie Nicks.” From what her enthusiasts have come to know and admire about Chrissie, it’s to be expected she will have no problem in actualizing this goal as well.

A few of Chrissie’s favorite places for…

Vintage tees?

Chrissie Miller: Filthmart. It’s in LA, but you can shop on their Instagram.

Late night dessert?

CM: Ray’s Candy Store in the East Village.

Good art from emerging talent?

CM: Viewing Room at Marlborough Contemporary.

Inspiration?

CM: The streets.

Words Jenny Hartman

Photography Sally Griffiths

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