‘Those were my ideas from the first, to create a fashion brand which made people feel happy, feel powerful, and—most importantly—which was accessible to all. My agenda hasn’t changed. Technology is tomorrow’s great enabler. It seems like the perfect moment in history to present my designs to the world once again.’—Paula Sweet
The era of on-demand personalization presents many more options than mass production ever did for a creative force of nature like Paula Sweet. All her original ideas are still abundantly present in new output, found in her watchwords for the 2019–20 season: Joy, Power and Mink. These appear on a limited-edition label and on her revamped website www.paulasweet.com.
Today, at 71 years old and energy undiminished, Paula Sweet is ready to reintroduce her classic design sensibility to a young generation, as well as her loyal fans. The revamped website enables users to deploy new and vintage Paula Sweet images on T-shirts, tote bags, cups, cellphone covers and pillows. Hidden on the site are other pages devoted to bespoke fashions, illustration, photography, Instagram posts and books created by Paula. A separate zone called ‘The Works’ includes CV, biographical notes, historic photography and a digital catalogue raisonné showing the incredible range of output by the multitalented and multifaceted Paula.
It’s been years since she last revamped her website, but the iconic American fashion designer Paula Sweet is poised for a relaunch. Today marks the go-live date of the newly-renovated www.paulasweet.com, revived and repackaged for today’s audiences, with interactive product-creation options which reflect the unique style of the woman who four decades ago first created the Muslin Mink.
The ubiquitous Mink was a fashion phenomenon which took hold of the public imagination in the 1980s and catapulted Paula Sweet’s fashion house, home products and art into the international spotlight. For over two decades the brand was present in top-end department stores and magazine pages, not to mention in the wardrobes and on the backs of the fast and furious, the famous, the fantastic and the down-to-earth. Today a Muslin Mink can be found in the permanent collection at the Costume Institute of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, while vintage creations enjoy lively trading on Ebay by international collectors and fashionistas.
What happened? ‘Parenthood, in a word,’ Sweet says. ‘I stopped to raise my daughter and led a more private life. I didn’t quit creating—I kept the old website going, just shuttered my shop in 2000. I never stopped being busy. I took photos, made ceramics, sewed my own clothes, did a lot of travelling and wrote books. These days I mostly live and work in the north of Italy, just outside Venice. What with the coronavirus I felt the time was right to reach out to a digitally-savvy group like my daughter’s.’