'Game of Thrones' Comes to NYFW Courtesy of L.A. Designer and Artist, Blaine Halvorson
The MadeWorn designer, who created an art installation for IMG's fashion week HQ, brought pal and fellow craftsman Jason Momoa (who played Khal Drogo on the series) to NYC for a panel on the importance of handcrafting.
It was certainly the last thing we expected — to see Game of Thrones’ Khal Drogo at New York Fashion Week. First of all, the great and powerful Khal died at the end of season one, and actor Jason Momoa, who played him, resides in Los Angeles. But he flew into New York at the beginning of fashion week to join his best L.A. buddy and favorite SoCal clothing designer (of the label MadeWorn) Blaine Halvorson for an IMG-sponsored panel called "Walk, Don’t Run,” a discussion on artisanal handcrafting in the age of technology and fast-moving everything.
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Turns out Momoa and Halvorson have a passion in common: Both spend a lot of time making things with their hands. Halvorson, of course, designs and creates handcrafted clothes, shoes and bags for men and women — and many a celebrity — but is also a well-known visual artist. In fact, he created a major installation for NYFW at IMG’s HQ on West 14th Street (also called "Walk, Don’t Run") which featured, among many nostalgic and manmade elements, five thousand pairs of beat up boots piled high around a work table, where the artist/designer himself worked on pairs of his custom-made boots for the entirety of fashion week.
We caught up with the two men at a party after their panel, and chatted with the duo right in the middle of the installation.
Pret-a-Reporter: Jason, how did you meet Blaine?
Jason Momoa: My wife [Lisa Bonet] sent me over to MadeWorn last year because she loves his clothes and shoes so much. Blaine and I also have a mutual friend in Brett Easton Ellis. Turns out, Blaine and I have similar taste — that’s why I’m wearing his shirt, vest and pants right now! He came up to my house and we discovered we both share a love of handcrafting and working with our hands.
Blaine Halvorson: We’re wearing almost the same thing right now, if you notice. Different coloration and fades.
JM: I had bought some MadeWorn clothes at Maxfield’s awhile back, and then when I couldn’t find them anymore, the staff told me Blaine was creating his own space for the brand. His attention to detail is amazing. I’ve never seen anyone put his own stamp on everything he does like that — his art, clothes, bags, boots, rock t-shirts — even the rooms of his gallery and shop. Not only that — I’m 6’5” and 220 pounds — nothing fits me!
BH: I custom make things for Jason’s height and shape. That’s the only way clothes wind up fitting well.
JM: Blaine, how long did it take you to put up this massive installation?
BH: I planned it back in Los Angeles for months and I knew the dimensions of the room. But you don’t know what it will look like or how it would fit till you get into the actual space. I got in two nights before set-up and then the truck with all the pieces here was reported stolen. Somehow it showed up at the end of the next day. So I did a major all-nighter setting it up. And I wound up using every single piece I hauled across the country.
Where did you procure all these boots that look like the ones that take you many days to create?
BH: Someone called me to call this dude downtown. He had a couple thousand. I said, I need much more. So he found me five thousand pairs. Of course, they had to be black.
How did the panel go?
JM: I was honored to be a part of it. Blaine and I have been talking for a long time about a return of making things by hand in your own time. A few like minded crafts people working together. Everything right now is like Walmart — giant, outsized. We’re at such a loss for community and attention to detail.
BH: The “slow movement” translates to everything. Prior to World War II, America was the best at everything — building cars, making watches. Now everything is machine made.
The installation even smells great.
BH: That’s because we’re burning my incense that I make [and sell] — it’s called Smoke.
JM: It smells like Blaine!