THEY SAY A picture is worth a thousand words, and in the case of artist Libbie Masterson, her storied collection of global and Houston-centric photographs does the talking — on apparel and accessories, that is.
Art for Wear is Masterson’s new fashion line, in which her professional landscape photographs are printed on various fabrics and finished as wearable art, clothing and accessories. Her collection includes an artistic line of women’s dresses, light wraps, tunics, purses and various unisex bags splashed with her iconic photography. Love Houston’s South Boulevard? There’s a dress for that. Always on the move? She has a yoga mat and the backpack of your dreams!
The line was motivated by Masterson’s love of merging history with contemporary design. Inspired by a Fortuny exhibition curated by Oscar de la Renta at the Spanish Institute in New York, the tactile history of the fabric and Mario Fortuny’s engraved block printing methods, she prints each piece using landscape images from her photographic series.
“Art for Wear has been in the works for years, but I’ve expanded the line,” says Masterson. “I made one gown — but then the project went on the back burner. After the pandemic when things picked up again, I started to experiment with different materials and made more designs starting with a better-looking diaper bag for my twins!”
Then her line led to more purses and more bags including the very popular “The Weekender” with a rope handle that can be folded inside another bag. “It sports a generous amount of surface space for a photograph, so I can take advantage of a beautiful image,” says Masterson. Apparel in the small line includes gorgeous silk and satin slip dresses and short and long tunics which can work with jeans or as black-tie, respectively.
A duffle bag sporting a photos of Houston's South Boulevard
Kathy Lord, Klinka Lollar and Masterson at a recent pop-up event
'Moonrise on the Bay' bag
'Skyscape' flounce dress
'Skyscape' weekend bag
Currently her pieces are available at her website online and eventually with select retailers. Masterson has held a few pop-up parties to show her boutique collection including the first at Foto Relevance Gallery, where her landscape photography inspired by years of world travel can be viewed. Another pop-up showing with many Houston heavyweights in attendance was held at Mariquita Masterson, her family jewelry store, in River Oaks.
“Art for Wear aims to create and to visually inspire through the use of pieces you can wear and use in daily life; ideas that are accessible and bring joy while still having a story to tell. Being able to start with my photography as the base of this adventure in my hometown is an extraordinary gift,” says Masterson.
And what does the busy artist and mom enjoy in her leisure time? “I like to go to the country and photograph and to be with my kids and their dad — it’s great to get out of the city and dig in dirt, plant things, roast hot dogs and marshmallows — that’s a breather,” says Masterson.