Words by Michelle Hanley
September 12th, 2017
Formed in 2010 by partners Phoebe Sung and Peter Buer, the Cold Picnic story began at Massachusetts College of Art where they both studied Apparel Design. After working for a number of years in corporate fashion design, Phoebe as an apparel designer and Peter as a print designer, their love of indigenous crafts won out.
With the dusty yet vibrant palettes of 1970s films and the American natural landscape as their inspiration, the couple began working on various side projects together in an effort to explore traditional crafts filtered through modern sensibilities. Before long, Cold Picnic was born with a line of textiles, macrame home goods, jewellery and leather bags.
Each season, as they fleshed out imagined landscapes for their prints, they found themselves discarding certain designs. One looked too much like a breast, another too phallic. While designing for AW15, they realised how much energy they wasted avoiding the landscape of the human body, and decided to make a series of rugs celebrating it. Using their combined backgrounds in figure drawings and print design, they constructed a simple yet striking series of line drawings. The bold and simplistic forms highlight the cheeky nature while the almost childlike quality makes them almost completely un-crude.
With the international fashion audience focusing their creative minds and tastes towards liberalism and political demonstration over the last few months it’s little wonder that this design duo’s homage to the human body has become a recent Instagram sensation with stars such as fashion writer and A-list influencer, Pandora Sykes and our very own trailblazer Angela Scanlon Instagramming their latest purchases.
Cold Picnic’s two latest collections also have strong messages behind them, the first inspired by the Rainer Werner Fassbender’s film Ali: Fear Eats the Soul (1974) about a Muslim immigrant in post-war Germany, a picture that calls for compassion in complicated times (20% donation of all ‘Ali’s’ online orders go to the American Civil Liberties Union). The second collection, entitled ‘The Passenger’, focuses on the natural beauty of the American landscape under threat by global warming.
Cold Picnic is certainly an interiors and accessories label with a strong voice and knowledge of colour and texture, with a series of collections that are full of trendy and timeless piece. Hopefully, someday these former apparel designers will turn their hands to the sewing machine once more!
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