The artist himself! A sneak peek of the next round of Keds for Opening Ceremony sneakers, France Edition.  We resurrected the Camp Oxford from Keds' archives and added some French je-ne-sais-quoi. A typical "Toile de Jouy" or toile print displaying quaint pastoral scenery. Richard first secures the fabric inside an embroidery hoop, which holds the fabric taut, before hand-embroidering with colorful contrasting thread.  Eventually these pieces will go to the Keds factory to be sewn into shoes! A view of the backside of the embroidery. A farm girl becomes a fiery headed clown. More clowns. Villagers confront a beast man. A close-up: spy those bunny ears and carrot! Richard's home in Jackson Heights.

FNO 2010: Keds

BY Jesse Hudnutt | Wed. December 31, 1969 | 7:00 PM | OC,A La Mode
Starting today, we begin counting down to this year's Fashion's Night Out by bringing you a daily dose of what's in store for our French flea market at Ace Hotel. Stay tuned!

Last week, I took a quick train ride out to Jackson Heights, Queens to visit OC's latest artist-collaborator: Richard Saja.  Richard has been remixing and recontextualizing quintessentially French toile prints since 2001 when he first designed a set of toile-printed pillows embellished with clever, playful twists on monochromatic pastoral scenes.  Anyone familiar with "Toile de Jouy" -- a print that originated in 1700s France -- would most likely associate it with the sweet, girly Marie Antoinette-style decor of grandma's dining room, but Richard's reinterpretations subvert the expected daintiness by inserting figures reminiscent of the artist's childhood doodles: superheroes, monsters, clowns, and mutants. The end result recalls something else along the lines of fabric graffiti, or comic strip tapestry.

Richard's work, which up until now has been mainly focused on decorative and fine art traditions, made him the perfect candidate for adding a super special touch to our latest round of Keds for Opening Ceremony toile-embroidered and toile-printed sneakers.  Richard was kind enough to walk me through his meticulous process, and show me around his studio space.  Check out some of the pics from my visit and stay tuned for Richard's super limited edition, customized Keds for Opening Ceremony "France Edition" sneakers debuting next week at Fashion's Night Out.