All photos by Fabrice Fortin for Paris By Appointment Only™
The holiday season is as much about delight, as deceit. The presents we give/get rarely live up to the pomp of their packaging. To resolve this annual angst, the clever art-meets-fashion concept brand, Slow and Steady Wins the Race, has turned the act of giving into the gift itself.
Rolling art and anticipation into one, ‘Presents’ is an ephemeral collection of artist-designed nesting boxes that celebrate the experience and excitement of giving and receiving. What lies inside the boxes is an afterthought—the presentation is the present itself. (Can you think of a more suitable endnote to the worst financial year in decades?)
Inhabiting the Brachfeld gallery in Paris for the month of the December, ‘Presents’ is an art show/pop-up shop in synch with the brand’s deconstructionist design manifesto. Creating collections like chapters in a living archive, Slow and Stead Wins the Race focuses on sartorial notions (evening), social critiques (luxe?) categories (white t-shirt) or design fundamentals (seams). Each mini-range of six to eight pieces is numbered and indexed for future reference like files in a library.
In keeping with the brand’s measured and meticulous maturation process, the concept behind ‘Presents’ has been brewing in the pot for a while.
“One year my sculpture professor in college told us about a gift experience he created for his wife,” says Slow and Steady Wins the Race founder, Mary Ping, who graduated from Vassar in 2000. “He created a nesting box of trinkets from the dollar store and she spent thirty minutes unwrapping each surprise within a surprise.”
“I thought it was such a great idea to offer that lasting memory as a gift.”
As fascinated with the thought process as its outcome, Slow and Steady Wins the Race wanted to see how their creative buddies would approach the challenge of a present-less present, and so divided them up into groups.
Tauba Auerbach and Hannes Hetta created a three-piece set of mirrored boxes with patterned bases, turning the tiny spaces into kaleidoscopic infinity rooms.
Matt Wolf and Carl Williamson’s Jewish Kind of Christmas offers a smorgasbord of quirky delights, including a special mixed tape, a piece of fool’s gold and a glass sun catcher.
Terence Koh and Garrick Gott (tongues firmly in cheeks) created a set of six white paper nesting boxes that spell x-a-n-a-x in hand cut paper letters, with a final pill in the end
In addition to the box sets, Slow and Steady Wins the Race has brought some of its archive icons out for the occasion, such as a festive jumbo pearl necklace, a green velvet evening bag, a Birken-esque leather bag, futuristic sunglasses, and a faux fox stole in cream-colored cotton, the perfect avant-garde accessory to ring in the New Year.
Brachfeld Gallery: 78 rue des Archives, 75003
Dates: December 1st-24th, 20009, Monday-Saturday (2pm-6pm)
Holiday Boxes: From 188E -3,333E, in series of 1-10.
Slow and Stead Wins the Race Accessories: Bamboo bag in green velvet (100E); Pearl Brooch (100E), Jumbo Pearl Necklace (100E), Four-sided Birkin-inspired Bag (1000E), Faux Fox Stole (150E)