Andy Warhol X Chelsea Hotel
Our three-piece look was made to represent how Andy Warhol made the Chelsea Hotel “his own”. He began to experiment with filmmaking in 1963. His fascination with pop culture and media began as a child when he constantly listened to the radio and hung up posters of movie stars because he stayed in his room most of the time due to a nervous disorder. Andy Warhol filmed his iconic three and a half hour long movie “Chelsea Girls” in 1966 at the Chelsea Hotel. He wanted the film to be on the location, and he did not have a set plan on what he wanted to film, but based the plot around the location. He set out to “elevate the everyday to the extraordinary”.
We chose to represent his relationship with the Chelsea Hotel through two t-shirts and a black blazer styled jacket. We chose white t shirts to represent the simplicity that Warhol conveys in the film. We embroidered and put photo transfers on them to “elevate” their normal look, just like Warhol did in the film.
The first t-shirt is meant to symbolize the artistic perspective Andy Warhol took on the Chelsea Hotel. The front has a photo of a transcript of the film. It gives instructions for the split-screen projections. Next to the text, there are actual split screen stills printed on the fabric. The t-shirt can be looked at like a wearable version of the film. On the back there is a tag that acts as a description of the t shirt and the film. Underneath is a still of Nico, a model and actress, that Andy Warhol chose to be in his film. The colors are bright and vivid to represent Warhol’s influence in pop art, which he is also very well known for. The piece is meant to portray the potential Warhol saw when deciding to film in the hotel.
The second t shirt represents the “dirty” and gruesome aspects of the Chelsea Hotel. There were several drug overdoses that occurred during the time period Andy Warhol was a guest at the hotel. Even in his film, Warhol included several clips of girls smoking, shooting amphetamines and high on psychedelics. Ironed on the shirt are two images, depicting a still from Chelsea Girls of two men smoking, and a scanned news article that summarizes how Sid Vicious murdered his girlfriend in a hotel room at The Chelsea is on the t shirt.
The black jacket is meant to look chic and represent the glamorous, fame ridden aspect of the Chelsea Hotel. So many people are blindsided by the fact so many celebrities have been residents or visited the Chelsea Hotel, it takes away from the brutalities that occurred there. For example, a member of the Sex Pistols, Sid Vicious, murdered his girlfriend Nancy Spungen at the hotel. She was found dead in a hotel room, with stab wounds in her abdomen. The jacket goes along with the white t shirt that represents the drug use and messiness that are associated with the hotel. This chic jacket is supposed to “cover” those negative aspects of the hotel during the mid 1900’s, literally over the white t shirt and figuratively. Symbolically, the jacket covers up the shirt, which parallels to how time puts the history of Chelsea Hotel in the deep abyss of history; where it almost seems to be forgotten. The red hemming represents the brick exterior of the hotel, as well as blood, a symbol of violence and death. The white text on the back, “Chelsea” is to add the glam feel to the jacket. The lettering parallels the texts found on director/actor chairs and jackets.