The Kidd is Alright

The first time I met Charlotte Kidd was at a casting for Frederic Fekkai. We were looking for “artistic girls” who could pose as art gallery dealers in a campaign video. Charlotte was one of a few girls I had found via friends and on-line research. When she walked in to greet us I was immediately stricken by her beauty, albeit unconventional. She had shiny brown hair that hung loosely over her shoulders. She had a strong jaw but her face was soft with olive skin and serene, yet intense eyes. And she was tall enough to be a model. I wondered why she wasn’t. My client liked her a lot but eventually changed the concept. Exit art. The second time we met would be only a few days later at a private showing of short films at Kidd Yellin’s Red Hook art studio. I walked in just as a documentary started about Indians in South America. It showed their ever day life: how they hunted for food, prepared meals and performed sacred rituals. It was intriguing and sometimes shocking but the video showed the work of a talented, anthropology film maker. It was Charlotte‘s.

Walking into the ground floor art space at 33 Imlay Street in Red Hook is like a brutal, head-first introduction into art. Every centimeter of the large compound is bustling, glistening and reeking of art. Besides Dustin Yellin‘s employees, there’s about a dozen painters and sculptors at work every day. All you see is frames, statues, books, artifacts, brushes, antiques, and resin. LOTS of resin, Dustin’s preferred choice of material. Charlotte and Dustin dated for four years and bought the space in 2007. “I had originally conceived the space as a creative think tank,” explains Charlotte, “an interdisciplinary studio where artists, thinkers and scientists could use their expertise con-jointly and show their artwork. People can be so isolated in their work practice in New York; I really wanted to create a community.”

But I am not here to talk about art. I want to see how vintage and style play a role in this creative 27-year-old native New Yorker’s life. Since she moved out of Red Hook, she kept only her work studio on the ground floor and half a closet on the second floor, adjacent to Dustin’s bedroom. We find some of her best pieces: black Victorian jackets, worn to the thread but still astonishingly beautiful, old lace-up military boots from the 1930’s, prairie capes, baseball jackets, kimonos, flying tiger jackets, and some random colorful dresses she had forgotten about. Charlotte is a tom-boy at heart. She’ll never wear anything too clingy, never a short dress and heels, unless worn with a big jacket over it. “I have a brother,” she clarifies. “So I always wanted to be comfortable to be able to keep up. My thought was, if some wild apocalypse happened I’d always be able to get away in what I was wearing.” Charlotte’s ideal outfit would be “sailor paints, oxfords, never without a motorcycle jacket.” However, as she’s gotten older she’s started to embrace her feminine side and realizes: “It is more fun!” I’ll say!

June 29, 2011
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