At Four we are compelled by professional women like Georgia O’Keeffe, women with an ethos of integrity that brings care and conscientiousness to all aspects of their lives. Personifying this, Georgia O'Keeffe “strove to make her life a complete work of art, each piece contributing to an aesthetic whole. Over the course of her lifetime she created an uncompromising modern aesthetic and applied it equally to her painting, dress and home… creating a unitary style that was informed by simplicity, distillation and clarity.”
Beginning in the 1950’s and 60’s Georgia O'Keeffe travelled the world, starting with Mexico and the Yucatan then on to Honolulu, Southeast Asia, the Far East, India, Middle East and Italy and some places more than once. There are many stories about O'Keeffe’s “keen knowledge of textiles and how hard she hunted to get the best silk or to find quality cotton.” O'Keeffe was an excellent seamstress and went on to perfect a variety of techniques that embellished her clothes. Even after the invention of ready-to-wear she would alter her clothes to fit her style and body, hiring tailors to make patterns of her favorites to be replicated in textiles invariably brought home from Japan, China, India, Mexico and Guatemala.
The Book of Tea, a major influence on her life, often read aloud to her after she lost her site, reads, "real appreciation of art is only possible to those who make of it a living influence…the art and color of the dress, the poise of the body and the manner of walking should all be made expressions of artistic personality. These are masters not to be lightly ignored, for until made has made himself beautiful he has no right to approach beauty.”
Live Work Live
We found the inspiration for our work shirts (4.2 GOK) during a visit to Georgia O'Keeffe's Abiquiu home in New Mexico, that was further cemented by the thorough exhibition, Living Modern at the Brooklyn Museum in 2017, which elegantly showed how important a role clothing and textiles were in her larger oeuvre.
We LOVE the way O'Keeffe made her intentional living look so effortless; she was a dedicated painter, organic gardner and lover. Form and function was at the core of everything she did.
GOK 4.2.1 Indigo Chambray, 4.2.2 White Linen, 4.2.3 Black Wool
We were driven to design a work shirt for her in all her functions; a painter, a desert explorer and a cultural icon. In her studio she often wore a blue cotton chambray painters smock, while in everyday life and out in the desert collecting bones she wore white or chambray work shirts, having a collection of mens and women’s shirts in linen & cotton. While in the city she almost exclusively wore black wool, masculine in style. Georgia O’Keeffe had an “internal compass always pointed to understatement, simplification and comfort.” But we have a hunch that she did it all while having fun too.
Made to Last
“In her last years she wrote about mending older clothes she did not want to give up and re-hemming skirts and dresses to bring them up to date. Although she willingly paid to have clothes made, her closet registers a surprising frugality, evidenced by many meticulously patched garments. Her housekeepers and assistants remember that she always had a basket of clothes ready for mending. One of them said, “she never gave up her clothes, she kept them forever and patched the holes.