I am so deeply grateful that I got to spend 2 days with Prince at Paisley Park last year. Like Prince, I am private about my personal life and do not often share on social media. However, with his passing, I think its something we are all feeling and so its right to write about my grief and sadness over this shocking and sudden loss. Before now, only my close friends have heard this story. However, now that he has suddenly and prematurely left us, I feel it is more of an honor to share.
The time I spent at his - quote- ‘place where all artists and musicians can come tother to share and inspire one another’ called Paisley Park, will forever be fresh in memory. I received the call while abroad, working on my new collection 'Metamorphosis' ...two days and thousands of miles later I arrived with my partner Loren to a cold October in Minneapolis. He or his stylist had decided I was to dress him and the entire ensemble for the upcoming SNL show, hosted by Chris Rock on November 2, 2014, his first television appearance in 7 years.
Prince was cool. It was hard to take your eyes off of him. Knowing the level of detail with which we were informed about dos and don’ts (no alcohol, no meat, no cell phones), I was on my best behavior. He was beautiful- healthy and comfortable and kind with everyone, including a random trespasser who interrupted one of our meetings. He took a long time in his day to show Loren and I around his recording studio, dance studio, and private concert stage. We were challenged to think big, regaled with stories of other celebrities who visited him, and then we basically played a bunch of youtube videos of emerging artists he was excited about. We ate dinner with his all-girl band ThirdEyeGirl, and later we got the treat of a lifetime- a private concert (read: jam session) in his home. He invited Loren and I up on stage and was actually running around us to get between his keyboard and mic. I have experienced some interesting things but that was literally me watching my own experience on a video screen, completely amazing, bigger than life, and unreal. His well-documented particularities were on display- the motorcycle from Purple Rain (it was purple, as was his piano). He had the animated movie ‘Finding Nemo’ playing on multiple video screens, including the dining room and the DJ room. To see him create the sounds I herd coming from the speakers, was unbelievable. He was a true genius and so talented in so many ways, we may not see another like him in our lifetimes, if ever. I am so sad he is gone.
Probably the best moment of the weekend, and perhaps one of the best of my life, came when he had fully gone through my collection. He said, like him, I was a disruptive artist, and he complimented me on my clear talent. I am so humbled to have gotten this feedback from one of the most talented humans to have ever picked up a musical instrument. And the best quality of Prince is his unwavering support of other musicians and talent. He has discovered and promoted so many artists in his lifetime, and I am honored to have been among them.
The work was hard. I was basically tasked with creating custom fitted outfits for each of his band, and himself, 14 total, to wear at the SNL show in NY in 10 days time. I left Minneapolis and did not sleep for the entire week. I was so exhausted, having delivered the pieces perfectly and in time, that the day of his show (11/2/14) I had a motorcycle accident that left a scar more than halfway around my upper shin (don’t worry, I’m fine).
All of this is to say, in such a brief time, that the artist, known now and forever as Prince, gave me the greatest compliment I have gotten. More than anyone else he has made me feel worthy of being an artist and designer. Prince is dead, long live Prince.