Paint flies across the canvas as Anna Krakowsky ’15 flicks her paintbrush, putting the finishing touches on her latest work of art. Seconds later, there are brightly colored splotches covering the canvas and her once-plain shirt. As an Art 500 student, Krakowsky spends much of her free time painting and drawing in the Elson Art Center and often finds dabs of paint on her clothing.
“A lot of my clothing ends up with paint splatters on it. I pretend that they’re there on purpose,” said Krakowsky.
Growing up surrounded by the art and fashion of New York City has influenced Krakowsky’s style. As a child, she frequented the Metropolitan Museum of Art, where she explored exhibits at the Costume Institute with her mother. Roaming the city streets exposed Krakowsky to an eclectic array of styles.
“There are a lot of interesting people in [New York City] and lots of cool places where I can shop,” said Krakowsky. “[At Andover], I’m unique for being well-dressed, but when I’m back at home, I’m just average.”
Krakowsky also seeks inspiration from older time periods and pop culture, including singer Beyoncé, the character Joan from the show “Mad Men,” which is set in the ’60s, Rosie the Riveter, Cher and Dionne from the ’90s film “Clueless” and musician Madonna.
“I really like Madonna’s fashion, not all the time, but particularly in the movie ‘Desperately Seeking Susan’ from the 1980s. I especially like this one jacket that has a big Illuminati pyramid on the back,” said Krakowsky.
Krakowsky satisfies her love of retro clothing by frequenting thrift shops such as Buffalo Exchange. She balances out these distinctive secondhand store finds with essentials from American Apparel. In order to refresh her wardrobe while she is away from home, Krakowsky scrolls through online stores to find up-and-coming brands such as Fly Art, which creates T-shirts featuring rap lyrics superimposed onto famous works of art.
One of Krakowsky’s favorite outfits includes a Fly Art T-shirt with John Singleton Copley’s painting “Ascension of Jesus,” coupled with the lyrics “sky high / I’m sky high” from Kanye West’s song “Touch the Sky” in bold white text. She pairs this top with high waisted jeans and Timberland boots, her current shoe obsession. To complete the look, she ties a bandana around her hair and sports a wing-shaped ear cuff.
“I also have a lot of interesting bottoms, like these leggings with that ancient Japanese painting of a giant wave on them… In general, I wear almost exclusively high-waisted pants, because I look damn good in them,” wrote Krakowsky in an email to The Phillipian.
When assembling outfits, Krakowsky begins with a statement item, such as a shirt with cut-out shoulders, cathedral-print leggings or a pair of bold earrings, and builds the outfit around that.
“As for statement pieces, I have a pair of life-size cigarette earrings which seem to fit the bill,” said Krakowsky, “People are always asking me if they’re real, like it’d make any kind of sense for me to hang real, lit cigarettes from my ears all day and let them ash all over my shoulders. I have one cuff with an angel wing and another shaped like a dragon, but I actually don’t have that many cuffs or wear them that often. I mostly just like big, unusual or even mismatched earrings. In general, I just like big, gold-colored jewelry. It adds a certain boldness to anything.”
Krakowsky hopes that her artistic clothing designs and bold statement pieces showcase her inventive personality.
Jaleel Williams ’15 said, “What I love about Anna’s style is that is the perfect combination of ‘I spend time looking this good’ and ‘I don’t care what you think I look like.’ The way she dresses is so bold and innovative and clearly thoughtful and well planned, but it’s so obviously for herself, which I think is real brave and inspiring.”