Last Thursday, evening about 30 people gathered in the IMA’s Fountain Room to listen to Rich Anderson speak about his amazing collection of men’s couture. Rich, a FAS member and avid fashion collector for over 15 years was invited by the Indianapolis Museum of Art’s Fashion Arts Society to speak about his collection and showcase select pieces. Attendance was refreshingly varied, with students from Butler’s costume class, lead by Wendy Meaden, to FAS president, Stephen Taylor of Stephen Taylor Designs to local rock star jewelry designer, Allison Ford of Studio AMF.
Anderson, who undoubtedly had to make tough choices when deciding what to bring, chose to concentrate the evening’s show and tell on his Jean Paul Gaultier collection. Perhaps this is because Rich has a special affinity for Gaultier’s style, design methods and as he said, “I like him as a person”. Regardless, it is clear Gaultier was instrumental in hooking Rich into collecting. (And yes, they have met)!
Rich started collecting fashion while working as an engineer for Ford Motor Company in the late 1990s. Expressing a desire to stand apart from his “Brooks Brothers” colleagues, Rich sought an avenue to express his inner artist- one he discovered, could be accomplished through clothing. At first, he was simply intrigued with construction and fit, but eventually started to pay greater attention to trends and specific collections. He shared with group, the very first piece he acquired; a beautifully constructed tuxedo jacket from about 1900 made by Saks, before it became Saks Fifth Ave. It is apparent that whatever spoke to Rich in those tails, continues to speak to him today.
He spent the better part of the evening discussing his collecting philosophy and methods, which include scouring vintage shops, buying online and befriending European male fashion models for trade or sale. According to Rich, male models are paid less and care little for the perk of ‘keeping the clothes’ He enlightened the group with a delightful story of friendship that developed between him and a male model who is an avid matchbox car collector. Every few months, Rich goes to Walmart and buys up all the matchbox cars he can find, boxes them up and ships them to Europe. In return he receives a box of (surprise) couture, straight off the run-way. Not a bad trade if you ask me!
Rich ended his talk with a question and answer period which led him to promote his concept of dressing for you, and only you. “Wear your favorite ball gown to the grocery store, if it makes you happy!” he exclaimed. A huge proponent for not caring what others think, and educating and enlightening anyone who shows interest – it is clear that Rich is an asset to the fashion and artistic communities in Indianapolis. Hopefully, we will get another glimpse into his closet again, soon.
Images courtesy of Marc McCoy Photography.